Central Bank of Armenia: exchange rates and prices of precious metals – 30-11-23


YEREVAN, 30 NOVEMBER, ARMENPRESS. The Central Bank of Armenia informs “Armenpress” that today, 30 November, USD exchange rate up by 0.15 drams to 402.65 drams. EUR exchange rate down by 2.29 drams to 439.49 drams. Russian Ruble exchange rate up by 0.02 drams to 4.54 drams. GBP exchange rate down by 1.50 drams to 509.03 drams.

The Central Bank has set the following prices for precious metals.

Gold price up by 285.50 drams to 26498.78 drams. Silver price up by 4.19 drams to 323.18 drams.

"Old or new agenda?" What the EU delegation in Yerevan is discussing

Nov 29 2023
  • JAMnews
  • Yerevan

EU delegation in Yerevean

A delegation of representatives of the European External Action Service and the European Commission discussed in Armenia “a wide range of issues on the agenda of Armenia’s partnership with the EU, including the prospects of cooperation in the security sphere”, according to official sources.

Armenian analysts believe that the purpose of the visit was to clarify the “status” of relations, and the agenda of the issues discussed “focused on security issues”.

  • EU or Russia: which has each of the South Caucasus countries chosen?
  • “Baku and Moscow’s goal is to derail the peace process” – Armenian political scientist
  • “Azerbaijan is better seen and heard in Brussels” – Armenian political scientist

A joint delegation of the European External Action Service and the European Commission was in Yerevan on November 27-29. Members of the EU delegation met with Deputy Foreign Minister Paruyr Hovhannisian and Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan.

The Foreign Ministry says that the following were discussed:

  • implementation of the Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement,
  • perspectives of expansion of cooperation in the spheres of mutual interest,
  • possibilities of realization of existing potential.

The Staff of the Security Council said that “the sides discussed the prospects and ways of bilateral cooperation in the sphere of security”.

According to official information, the Armenian side emphasized the role of the EU civilian observation mission to ensure security on Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan.

Cooperation with the EU within the framework of the European Peace Foundation was discussed as a promising direction.

The European Peace Facility is a mechanism through which Brussels provides funds to non-EU countries to improve their defense capabilities, prevent conflict and promote peace. Through this mechanism, the EU has supported Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.

Political analyst Boris Navasardyan believes that the process of clarifying the status of Armenia’s relations with the European Union is underway, and there are three main possibilities:

  • Partnership,
  • European integration,
  • EU membership.

“Partnership is something that has been in place since 1999. Cooperation deepened in 2017 when the parties signed the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement. Now are we going to stay at this level or do we want to move forward? The EU wants to have a clearer idea of where our relationship is, how much it can deepen,” he says.

According to the analyst, the cooperation with the EU within the framework of the Eastern Partnership contains elements of European integration. However, in his opinion, Armenia could have reached that level as early as 2013 by signing an association agreement with the EU.

Navasardyan says there was a misperception of the association with the EU in Armenia. Some politicians believed that this was the path to membership in the European Union. Others were sure that “in case of association, we can never qualify for membership.”

“That’s not really what the association relationship is about. You are offered a certain program of development and reforms. And after its implementation, you can think about whether to continue deepening relations with the EU or not,” he explains.

According to the analyst’s assessment, the uncertainty that exists today in relations with the EU is unproductive.

“The Association is off the agenda. It does not exist and will not exist as long as Armenia is a member of the EAEU [an economic union led by Russia]. If we aim to reach the level of European integration, we must have a clear plan when and what we will do with the EAEU. In this case, the prospect for the third level, i.e. EU membership, will also open up.”

“Armenia should have a very clear action plan so that we don’t have to change relations with other partners and other countries in conditions of agitation and time pressure.”

Political scientist Richard Kirakosian believes that Yerevan is now of greater strategic importance to Brussels than ever before. It is now considered a “more important partner.”

“The European Union wants to accelerate the pace of development of relations with Yerevan. Not only by sending observers, but also by developing security relations unprecedented for Armenia. Brussels is also very angry and disappointed with Baku.”

The political analyst stressed that although Armenia has not changed the vector of its foreign policy, the EU has started to perceive Armenia better, especially in comparison with its neighbors. In addition, he said, Western partners consider Armenia’s successes on the road to democratization as an achievement.


First session of the Armenia-UN Joint Steering Committee held in the Government


YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 29, ARMENPRESS. The Government of the Republic of Armenia and the UN Office in Armenia have officially announced the commencement of the Joint Steering Committee. This committee serves as a key pillar in the implementation of the 2021-2025 UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for Armenia.

During the session, the Joint Steering Committee discussed the Republic of Armenia's progress in implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and addressed challenges, including the massive influx of forcibly displaced refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh, Grigoryan’s Office said in a statement.

The Committee emphasized the importance of comprehensively addressing the humanitarian and development needs of refugees, ensuring their sustainable development. 

Additionally, the committee stressed the need to outline further measures for the implementation of the UN SDGs, considering the current socio-economic, humanitarian, and security situation in the country."

According to the source, Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan said in the opening speech: 'Armenia, committed to the implementation of the 2030 agenda, continues to make efforts towards achieving the goals of sustainable development. A vivid proof of that commitment is the ambitious agenda of reforms implemented by the Government, which is based on a people-centered, inclusive approach and the protection of human rights.

On the path of sustainable development and strengthening of democracy, the United Nations Organization has been and remains one of our most important partners, which has always been a supporter of socio-economic progress in Armenia, the introduction of a good governance system, and a number of other activities.''

It is noted that during the inaugural session, Acting UN Resident Coordinator in Armenia Nanna Skau stated: "The launch of the Joint Steering Committee is of great importance for the existing partnership between the Republic of Armenia and the United Nations.

In the conditions of open dialogue, the Armenian government and the United Nations share a common vision for the development of the country. It is through this dialogue that we aim to empower people, build capacity, and create an enabling environment."

It was emphasized that with a commitment to cooperation, inclusiveness and accountability, the meetings of the Steering Committee will be held at least once a year, strengthening the basis of a stable and developing partnership between the Government of Armenia and the United Nations.

RFE/RL Armenian Service – 11/28/2023


Diaspora Urged To End Armenia’s Trade Dependence On Russia

        • Narine Ghalechian

Armenia - Arayik Harutiunian, chief of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian's staff, 
chairs a meeting in Yerevan, November 30, 2022.

Armenians around the world should buy more food and beverages produced in 
Armenia to end the country’s heavy dependence on their exports to Russia, Prime 
Minister Nikol Pashinian’s chief of staff said on Tuesday.

Arayik Harutiunian made the extraordinary appeal as hundreds of Armenian trucks 
remained stuck at the main Russian-Georgian border crossing due to Moscow’s 
decision to subject them to stricter sanitary checks. Dozens of other vehicles 
mainly carrying agricultural products were denied entry to Russia and had to 
return to Armenia in recent days. The tighter border controls come amid mounting 
tensions between Moscow and Yerevan.

“Now it is extremely important that Armenians in Armenia and the Diaspora buy 
only Armenian goods: agricultural products, drinks and services provided by 
Armenian companies,” Harutiunian wrote on Facebook. “Supporting business and the 
taxpayer in this way is vital for strengthening our Independence and Sovereignty.

“No closure of the Lars checkpoint will affect us if Armenian business finds new 
markets on the holiday and non-holiday tables of our compatriots living abroad. 
On New Year's and Christmas tables there should be only Armenian-made 
vegetables, fruit, wine, brandy, and other agricultural products.”

Russia has long been the main export market for these products. They still 
account for a significant share of Armenia’s overall exports to Russia that 
nearly doubled to $2.6 billion in January-September this year mainly because of 
a re-export of Western consumer goods.

Russia is also home to the largest Armenian Diaspora community in the world 
comprising an estimated 2 million people. The figure is believed to exceed the 
combined number of ethnic Armenians living in the United States and the European 

Georgia - Armenian and other heavy trucks are lined up on a road leading to the 
Georgian-Russian border crossing at Upper Lars, 6May2016.

Armenia exported $575 million worth of goods -- mostly base metals, ore 
concentrates and refined diamonds -- to EU countries in the nine-month period. 
Armenian exports to the U.S. totaled a meager $35 million, according to Armenian 
government data.

Harutiunian did not say whether the Armenian government can help domestic food 
exporters gain greater access to the tightly regulated Western markets. The 
government official, who is also a senior member of Pashinian’s Civil Contract 
party, could not be reached for comment.

Harutiun Mnatsakanian, a wholesale wheat trader who has done business in Europe 
for the last eight years, said Harutiunian’s appeal is “dangerous” in the 
absence of alternative export markets for Armenia’s agricultural and 
food-processing sectors. Mnatsakanian argued that the EU has strict sanitary and 
quality standards for foodstuffs that are not enforced in Armenia.

“On top of that, you have to solve logistical problems,” he told RFE/RL’s 
Armenian Service. “It can be said that we don’t have a logistical system for the 
European market and transportation costs are very high. These problems make it 
practically impossible for us to engage in major commerce in the European 

Hovik Aghazarian, a pro-government parliamentarian, was also skeptical, saying 
that while Harutiunian sent a “very important message” to the Diaspora it alone 
“will not solve the problem.” Armenia can only diversify its exports “in the 
long run,” he said.

Echoing statements by his opposition colleagues, Aghazarian suggested that the 
tighter border controls introduced by the Russians are politically motivated. 
Government officials in Yerevan have so far been careful not to make such claims 
in public.

Issue Of Karabakh’s Self-Determination Closed For Yerevan

        • Ruzanna Stepanian

Armenia - Parliament speaker Alen Simonian speaks to journalists, Yerevan, 

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is over and Armenia should not prioritize the 
quick return of the recently displaced Karabakh Armenians to their homes in 
peace talks with Azerbaijan, parliament speaker Alen Simonian said on Tuesday.

“The Republic of Armenia has no such issue today,” Simonian told journalists 
when asked about the Karabakh people’s right to self-determination that had for 
decades been championed by Yerevan. “Armenia fully recognizes the territorial 
integrity of Azerbaijan, including Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian recognized Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh 
months before Baku regained full control of the territory as a result of the 
September 19-20 military offensive that forced its practically entire ethnic 
Armenian population to flee to Armenia. Pashinian’s political opponents and 
other domestic critics say that the far-reaching policy change paved the way for 
the Azerbaijani takeover.

Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mnatsakan Safarian said last week that the 
issue of the rights of the Karabakh Armenians is “on the agenda” of Yerevan’s 
dealings with Baku and international mediators. But he did not elaborate.

Simonian, who is a close associate of Pashinian, was skeptical on this score, 
saying that the Karabakh refugees are not eager to return to their homes because 
there are now no realistic mechanisms for guaranteeing their security. He 
appeared to equate them with ethnic Azerbaijanis who had fled Soviet Armenia in 
the late 1980s.

“I believe that at this historical stage we must concentrate on signing the 
Armenia-Azerbaijan peace treaty and opening all regional communication routes,” 
he said in this regard. “Whether or not some Azerbaijanis will wish to return to 
Armenia or some Armenians will wish to return to Baku … Stepanakert, Shushi or 
the other settlements where Armenians used to live is a matter of the future.”

Blinken Again Talks To Armenian, Azeri Leaders

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Azerbaijani President Ilham 
Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian at the Munich Security 
Conference in Munich, Germany, February 18, 2023.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken telephoned the leaders of Armenia and 
Azerbaijan late on Monday to discuss ways of kick-starting Armenian-Azerbaijani 
talks on a peace deal sought by Western powers.

His separate phone calls followed Baku’s cancellation of a meeting in Washington 
of the Armenian-Azerbaijani foreign ministers scheduled for November 20. The 
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry blamed the move on what it described as 
pro-Armenian statements made by James O’Brien, the U.S. assistant secretary of 
state for Europe and Eurasia.

Speaking during a congressional hearing in Washington on November 15, O’Brien 
condemned Azerbaijan’s September 19-20 military offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh 
and warned Baku against attacking Armenia to open a land corridor to its 
Nakhichevan exclave.

“We’ve made clear that nothing will be normal with Azerbaijan after the events 
of September 19 until we see progress on the peace track,” he said, adding that 
Washington has cancelled “high-level visits” by Azerbaijani officials and 
suspended military and other aid to Baku.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev complained about O’Brien’s comments during 
his phone conversation with Blinken. According to Azerbaijani media, Aliyev 
agreed to receive the senior U.S. diplomat in Baku in December in return for 
Blinken’s pledge to lift the “unfounded ban on Azerbaijani officials’ visits to 
the United States.”

“The Secretary welcomed President Aliyev’s commitment to conclude a durable and 
dignified peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia,” Matthew Miller, the 
U.S. State Department spokesman, said in a statement on the call.

U.S. - James O'Brien, head of the State Department's Office of Sanctions 
Coordination, testifies during a Senate hearing in Washington, September 28, 

Blinken also “noted recent points of concern” in U.S.-Azerbaijani relations and 
discussed “opportunities to strengthen cooperation, especially around the peace 
process,” added Miller.

He did not say whether Blinken and Aliyev agreed on a new date for the 
Armenian-Azerbaijani talks in Washington. The press offices of Aliyev and 
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian also did not report such an agreement.

Aliyev and Pashinian had been scheduled to meet on the fringes of the European 
Union’s October 5 summit in Granada, Spain. Pashinian hoped that they will sign 
there a document laying out the main parameters of an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace 

However, Aliyev withdrew from the talks at the last minute. He also cancelled 
another meeting which EU Council President Charles Michel planned to host in 
Brussels later in October. A senior EU diplomat indicated last week that the 
onus is on the Azerbaijani side to revive the stalled peace process.

O’Brien questioned Aliyev’s commitment to signing a Western-backed treaty with 
Armenia when he testified before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee 
two weeks ago. The peace accord would commit Baku to formally recognizing 
Armenia’s current borders.

Speaking to journalists earlier on Monday, O’Brien said there is still a “real 
opportunity for Azerbaijan and Armenia to make peace.” He warned at the same 
time that the U.S. is ready to “use whatever tools we could” to prevent Baku 
from forcibly opening the corridor through Armenian territory.

“So we’ve been very clear with the parties about what we hope to see and about 
the consequences of moving forward otherwise,” added the U.S. official.

Reposted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL
Copyright (c) 2023 Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Inc.
1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.


Armenian PM warns of threat of military aggression from Azerbaijan

The Kyiv Independent
Nov 18 2023

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Azerbaijan may be preparing for military aggression against his country as the term "Western Azerbaijan," has become increasingly popular in public discourse in Azerbaijan.

During a Nov. 18 speech at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Yerevan, Pashinyan claimed Azerbaijan media, schools, and universities had started calling Armenia this way, warning the rhetoric could signal Baku's desire to start an offensive military operation.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned a select group of lawmakers that Azerbaijan might be planning to invade Armenia in the coming weeks, Politico reported on Oct. 13.

Officials familiar with the discussion told Politico that Blinken spoke about the possibility of an invasion in a conference call on Oct. 3.

The call addressed officials' questions about the U.S. response to Azerbaijan's September offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh.

During the call, Blinken reportedly told lawmakers that the State Department will not renew an established agreement that permits the U.S. to offer Azerbaijan military aid. The agreement has been renewed every year since 2002 but lapsed in June.

In the same conversation, Blinken warned that Azerbaijan may invade southern Armenia.

Of particular concern is the southern region of Syunik, which Azerbaijan calls the Zangezur Corridor and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly referred to as "Western Azerbaijan."

In mid-September, the Azerbaijani military launched a lightning offensive against the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, an unrecognized Armenian state within the territory of Azerbaijan. Local authorities eventually surrendered in a ceasefire mediated by Russia.

A formal decree was later signed, dissolving all official institutions of the breakaway state from Jan. 1, 2024. Following Azerbaijan's victory, around 100,000 people have left Nagorno-Karabakh for Armenia.

An unnoticed ethnic cleansing: We must not forget the Christians of Nagorno-Karabakh

Nov 16 2023
by Simon Kennedy

An Armenian bishop recently prayed what could be the last liturgical Christian prayer in Artsakh, otherwise known as Nagorno-Karabakh. This is a terrible tragedy, and we must not look away or be distracted by the other conflicts occurring in Europe and Middle East. An ancient Christian people are being displaced before our very eyes.

Nagorno-Karabakh is a formerly autonomous republic nestled between Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran. It was, until very recently, home to over 120,000 Christians and operated as an ethnic enclave under the watchful eye of Russian peacekeepers.

The region is a disputed territory. The dispute erupted into open war in 2020 between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Tensions have remained high after the ceasefire. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Russian peacekeeping oversight has diminished to the point where Azerbaijan’s government could act decisively and take control of the region.

The past two months has seen a dramatic shift in the direction of Azeri control. A putative anti-terrorism operation in late September was, in fact, a bombardment of Armenian Christian centers, including the capital, Stepanakert. The attacks, which continued over the next weeks, led to the end of Armenian resistance.

On Sept. 28, the president of the Republic of Artsakh decreed that all local governments in the region would cease to operate and exist by Jan. 1. By this time, over half of the Armenian population of the breakaway republic had fled.

The Azeri president, Ilham Aliyev, assured the international community that the Armenian population retained their rights as ethnic minorities within Azerbaijan’s legal framework. However, the reality has been much darker for the Armenian Christians of Nagorno-Karabakh.

By Oct. 3, as the Azeri army entered the region with a ground force, it was clear that the Armenians had abandoned hope. Within 24 hours, Azeri control of the region was assured, with reports of half-eaten food and personal belongings left behind indicative of the haste with which the Christian population fled.

The reasons for this haste have become clear as reports of starvation, shelling, and terror on the Armenian civilians emerged. Ethnic cleansing and genocide have been used to describe the actions taken by the Azeris as they acted to clear the region of Armenian elements.

Nagorno-Karabakh was the last ancient site of Armenian culture.

This is unquestionably a massive human tragedy. More than 120,000 people have been displaced from their homes and forced to flee in the face of terror and the threat of extinction. But there is more for Christians to consider as this unfolds.

Nagorno-Karabakh is an ancient site of Armenian culture and Christianity. Christianity has been present in the region for something like seventeen centuries, with traditional claims that it stretch back to the first century after Christ. Indeed, Armenia was the first nation to make Christianity its established religion.

Nagorno-Karabakh is more than simply a Christian and Armenian enclave. As the Danube Institute’s Csaba Horváth writes, “Nagorno Karabakh … represented the last remaining intact ancient pocket of unbroken Armenian demographic continuity.”

Armenians have been a pilgrim people, shunted from place to place over the centuries. Nagorno-Karabakh was the last ancient site of Armenian culture. It is also the last ancient site of Armenian Christian culture, one that is now entirely in the hands of a Muslim regime that has acted for decades to destroy the Armenian Christian heritage.

Events in Israel and Ukraine continue to hold the attention of the international community, and that’s understandable. The Azeris and Armenians are close to striking a peace deal, meaning the conflict will further retreat from the news cycle.

Yet, as Azerbaijan seizes control and begins recriminations against Armenian leaders, and Azeris look to move into the region, western Christians seem almost uninterested in the sad fate of tens of thousands of their brothers and sisters in Christ.

The destruction of Christianity in Nagorno-Karabakh is both a humanitarian tragedy and a religious tragedy. Western Christians must not look away.

Simon Kennedy

Simon Kennedy is a research fellow at the University of Queensland and a non-resident fellow at the Danube Institute. He is also associate editor of Quadrant Magazine.

Azerbaijan’s military parade in the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh

Actual News Magazine
Nov 8 2023

(Baku) Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev attended a military parade in the main city of Nagorno-Karabakh on Wednesday, warning Armenia against any spirit of “revenge”, a few weeks after Baku recaptured this territory from the separatists Armenians.

Published at 9:40 a.m.

Azerbaijani troops and a military band paraded in the central square of Khankendi, a town that Armenians call Stepanakert, according to images released by the Azerbaijani presidency.

We can also see the Azerbaijani flag flying on the building which housed the headquarters of the separatists’ political leadership.

“By shedding our blood and suffering losses on the battlefield, we have shown that Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan. Today everyone should know that it is now inadvisable to joke with us,” President Aliyev said in a speech.

“If Armenian leaders still harbor ideas of revenge, if countries accustomed to manipulating and supporting Armenia still devise cunning plans against Azerbaijan, let them watch today’s parade! We are ready to fight on all fronts,” he said.

Vice-President Mehriban Alieva, wife of the head of state, and their son Heydar also participated in the ceremony, said a press release from the presidency.

Ilham Aliev visited this regional capital for the first time on October 15 and raised his national flag there.

This Wednesday marks the third anniversary of Baku’s victory over Yerevan in 2020 following a six-week war. Armenia was then forced to cede to Azerbaijan significant territories in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, which it had controlled for around thirty years.

A first war in the 1990s, when the USSR broke up, left 30,000 dead and pushed hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee one country or another.

In September, Baku launched a lightning offensive forcing the separatists to capitulate, and took control of the entire territory, almost the entire population of which – more than 100,000 people out of the 120,000 officially recorded – fled in Armenia.

Negotiations conducted under the auspices of international mediation to reach a comprehensive peace agreement between the Caucasus neighbors, who have bitter hatred for each other, have so far failed to produce any breakthrough.

Preservation of at-risk Armenian heritage in NK raised at ICCROM General Assembly session

 12:45, 7 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 7, ARMENPRESS. Armenian experts and diplomats have warned the participants of the 33rd session of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) General Assembly in Rome on Azerbaijan’s state policy of destroying all Armenian traces in Nagorno-Karabakh and falsifying Armenian identity.

Armenia was represented at the session by Harutyun Vanyan, Director of the Department of Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments at the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport and diplomats from the Armenian Embassy in Italy, the ministry said in a statement. Ambassador of Armenia to Italy Tsovinar Hambardzumyan attended the opening session.

Vanyan delivered a report on the issues of preservation of the historical-cultural monuments in Nagorno-Karabakh. He stressed that saving the Armenian historical-cultural heritage in NK will only be possible through the pressure and levers by reputable international organizations. Vanyan noted that unfortunately the Armenian heritage in Nakhijevan was not saved in the past during a similar situation.

Specific facts and numbers on vandalisms and destruction of monuments by Azerbaijan were presented at the session. The report also noted the resolutions and decisions adopted by reputable international organizations, which Azerbaijan has been disregarding.

An agreement was reached to cooperate as part of the ICCROM First Aid and Resilience for Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAR) project, given the number of at-risk monuments in Armenia.

Germany backs the expansion of EU Mission in Armenia – German FM

 18:48, 3 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 3, ARMENPRESS. Germany wants to create conditions for negotiations in order to achieve stable, secure relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Annalena Baerbock said during the press conference held in Yerevan after the meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan.

“Germany defends the territorial integrity of both Armenia and Azerbaijan, and this is the basis of all negotiations aimed at reaching peace. Especially numerous difficult issues arise regarding boundaries, which maps should be used as a guide. Finding a solution to this problem is a big task for Armenia and Azerbaijan,” said German FM.

According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, the EU and Germany have acted as honest mediators between Armenia and Azerbaijan for years. Baerbock is convinced that the efforts of the President of the European Council Charles Michel  can become a bridge to establish peace between the two countries.

“That is why it is important to organize a stage of negotiations again. Through the EU mission, we are trying to provide concrete support to Armenia with our presence, to achieve stability and reliable peace through contacts with people.

I would like to emphasize that we want to strengthen the activities of the EU mission and within the EU we would like to achieve the expansion of this mission,” German Foreign Minister said.

Armenia and Azerbaijan vow peace — for now

Nov 3 2023

After passing up on several opportunities to sign a peace deal, first in Brussels, then in Spain at a summit of European leaders on October 5, and later in Kyrgyzstan at the summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Armenia and Azerbaijan's leadership may have finally agreed on a peace deal document to be signed “in the coming months,” according to Armenia's prime minister Nikol Pashinian.

The document is based on a May 2022 peace deal proposed by Azerbaijan, consisting of five principles which include recognizing each other's territorial integrity, the absence of territorial claims, abstaining form threats, demarcating the border, and opening transportation links. At the time, there was no mention of the final status of Karabakh nor of the ethnic Armenian population living in Karabakh. Following Azerbaijan's military offensive into the formerly disputed Nagorno–Karabakh region on September 19, 2023, the status for these last two points changed. On September 28, the government of Nagorno–Karabakh announced it will dissolve itself by 2024 and nearly all of the ethnic Armenians living in Karabakh have fled the region amid fears of living under the government of Azerbaijan. Several former and current officials of Nagorno–Karabakh were detained in the aftermath of the September 19 military operation.

The Nagorno–Karabakh area has been under the control of its ethnic Armenian population as a self-declared state since a war fought in the early 1990s, which ended with a ceasefire and Armenian military victory in 1994. In the aftermath of the first war, a new, internationally unrecognized, de facto Nagorno–Karabakh Republic was established. Seven adjacent regions were occupied by the Armenian forces. As a result of that war, “more than a million people had been forced from their homes: Azerbaijanis fled Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and the adjacent territories, while Armenians left homes in Azerbaijan,” according to the International Crisis Group.

The tensions lingered over the following decades. In 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a second war that lasted for 44 days. That war changed the status of the region. Azerbaijan regained control over much of the previously occupied seven regions and captured one-third of Karabakh itself.

On November 10, 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia. Among several points of the agreement, Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed that 1,960 Russian peacekeeping forces would remain in the parts of Karabakh “not recaptured by Azerbaijan and a narrow corridor connecting with Armenia across the Azerbaijani district of Lachin.”

Since the signed November 2020 agreement, mutual accusations of ceasefire violations continued unabated. So did mutual hostile rhetoric at the government and local levels, diminishing any prospects for peace.

As such, one question loomed: will there be another war? The most recent events on September 19, 2023, answered that question.

On October 30, 2023, Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan said, “three [out of five] main principles of peace and normalization of relations,” were agreed upon and that if both parties remained faithful to those principles, “the signing of the peace treaty becomes realistic,” reported OC Media.

But it is not just about the peace deal. In the words of Kommersant newspaper journalist Kirill Krivosheev, “If the Armenian presence in the region is no longer a political factor, what is there to argue about?” If anything, the deal would simply be a framework he notes. In addition, there are still a few items on the agenda, including “the fate of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh, and eight Azerbaijani enclaves in Armenia, Azerbaijan's plans to connect Nakhichevan, its exclave that borders Armenia, Turkey, and Iran, to the rest of Azerbaijan, and who would operate this route,” as well as, “whether displaced Karabakh Armenians will be allowed to enter Azerbaijan.”

“Resolving these issues will take years and will depend on the shift of power dynamics in the region. For now, signing a rudimentary peace treaty that deters Azerbaijan from further escalation would be a good result for Armenia. Baku knows this, and will therefore try to squeeze everything it can from the situation before signing any such document,” argues Krivosheev.

Resolving the transportation routes — specifically the one across Armenia to Azerbaijan’s exclave of Nakhchivan — remains contentious. This specific route is known as the “Zangezur corridor,” which is what Baku calls the route to Nakhchivan — Azerbaijan’s remote enclave sandwiched between Armenia, Turkey, and Iran. The route — albeit not mentioned by its name — was part of a ceasefire agreement signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the aftermath of the 44-day war the two countries fought in 2020. The agreement read:

The Republic of Armenia shall guarantee the security of transport connections between the western regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in order to arrange unobstructed movement of persons, vehicles and cargo in both directions. The Border Guard Service of the Russian Federal Security Service shall be responsible for overseeing the transport connections. Subject to agreement between the Parties, the construction of new transport communications to link the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic with the western regions of Azerbaijan will be ensured.

In a recent interview with the local media, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan described the route as “a strategic project”:

True, there is no word ‘Zangezur corridor’ in it because I included the term ‘Zangezur corridor’ in the geopolitical lexicon afterwards. However, it is explicitly stated there that there should be a transport connection between the western regions of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, and Armenia should provide it.

The corridor is also important for another regional player and Azerbaijan's ally: Turkey.

Now, Azerbaijan claims it is no longer interested in the corridor, not in its current form anyway. On October 25, in an interview with Reuters, Hikmet Hajiyev, a top aide to Aliyev said, “Azerbaijan had no plans to seize Zangezur.” Hajiyev added that the country was working with Iran instead.

Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani prime minister Nikol Pashinyan has unveiled a regional transport proposal — “Crossroads of Peace” —  that would connect Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Georgia through Armenia, describing it as an “important part of the peace agenda in the South Caucasus,” according to reporting by OC Media.

Both Baku and Yerevan have officially made peace pledges before but tensions loomed despite the promises. Whether a deal will be signed by the end of the year will show whether commitments to peace are as genuine as the leaders say they are.