Azerbaijan accuses France of impeding peace talks with Armenia

June 2 2023

Azerbaijan's president says France is disrupting his country's peace talks with Armenia in light of the country's president joining the effort as a mediator.

Following the most recent EU summit in Moldova, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev accused French President Emmanuel Macron of misrepresenting the discussion during the peace talks with Armenia. 

During the talks between Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday on the sidelines of the European Political Community summit, in an attempt to negotiate a peace treaty, Macron, alongside European Council President Charles Michel and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, joined as mediators.

The Elysée Palace said afterward that the “European leaders called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to respect all their commitments,” as it called on the two neighbors to release prisoners of war and avert "hostile rhetoric".

Macron’s press service stated that the three Western leaders “stressed the importance of defining rights and guarantees for the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh", which is the contested region over which Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a brutal war in 2020.

Read more: Macron to Aliyev: allow passage between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh

On Friday, Azerbaijani foreign ministry spokesperson Aykhan Hajizada said Macron's statement about the meeting "does not reflect and distorts the position of the parties. Unfortunately, this is not the first case of such behavior by France, and it does not make a positive contribution to the peace process."

This comes after Aliyev said that there were no serious obstacles to a peace treaty with Armenia on May 28. 

In a readout from the meeting, Armenia is aiming for an “international mechanism” to guarantee the safety of Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian population, after Pashinyan declared willingness back in April to recognize Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over the region governed autonomously by a Yerevan-backed administration since the fall of the Soviet Union.

"Those 86.6 thousand square kilometers also include Nagorno-Karabakh. But we also need to state that the issues of the rights and security of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians have to be discussed in the Baku-Stepanakert format," Pashinyan told a briefing.

He said that he expects Baku to recognize Armenia's sovereign territory of 29.8 thousand square kilometers. 

Aliyev continues to insist that local Armenians give up their arms and accept being ruled from his country in return for an “amnesty.”

Before the talks in Moldova, the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention wrote to Macron calling on him to prevent a mass exodus of the Nagorno-Karabakh populace, which it described as a potential “genocide.”

Read next: New Armenia-Azerbaijan border clashes, one soldier killed

Macron has been one of Armenia’s closest supporters in the EU and has previously been the subject of derision in Azerbaijan.

Armenpress: Pashinyan rules out “unsolvable” road issues related to enclaves

 09:55, 2 June 2023

YEREVAN, JUNE 2, ARMENPRESS. There’s no enclave that could create an unsolvable road problem for Armenia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said.

“On the political level, we proceed with the presumption that Kyarki was there,” Pashinyan said at a meeting with the Armenian community of Moldova on June 1 when asked whether Tigranashen belongs to Armenia or Azerbaijan under the 1975 map.

“We are saying that we should look into the legal grounds. Politically, if it turns out that it belongs to Azerbaijan by that map, then we don’t have any problem,” Pashinyan added.

It’s no fact that Azerbaijan would want to return Artsvashen and take Tigranashen, Pashinyan said.

The Prime Minister said he wouldn’t want the value of this issue to be overestimated.

“There’s no such enclave that could cause the kind of road problems for us that would be unsolvable. There’s no such issue. If the road can’t pass this way it will pass that way. There is no problem whatsoever. We are actually developing our road network in Armenia to such level that there is no unsolvable issue,” Pashinyan said.

Pashinyan warned that the enclave issue is being exploited to psychologically pressure the Armenian society.

“We are saying that on the political level we accept the enclaves, and they accept Artsvashen. Artsvashen is also an enclave. Assuming Azerbaijan wants that, thus we will take Artsvashen,” he said.

He added that there are many issues, for example how citizens must pass that road. Many issues must yet be agreed upon. PM Pashinyan warned that this issue should not become a tool for psychological pressure.

NSO spyware used in Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, report finds [+Links]

May 25 2023


NSO spyware used in Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, report finds

Researchers believe it is the first time that the powerful technology capable of spying on smartphones has been weaponized in an armed conflict between countries.

Invasive spyware capable of reading a smartphone’s messages and listening to calls was found on the phones of at least 12 Armenian journalists, politicians and civil society members, according to a report published Thursday by a group of nonprofit organizations.

The spyware, called Pegasus and made by the Israeli company NSO, had previously been found on the phones of thousands of people around the world, leading to U.S. sanctions in 2021 and a lawsuit from Apple. But researchers said their most recent findings are unique — they believe it is the first time that the technology has been weaponized in an armed conflict between countries.

Armenia has intermittently battled its neighbor Azerbaijan for decades. In 2020, a cease-fire was broken in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, leaving thousands dead. Since then, the two countries have been mired in a sporadic shooting war which has killed dozens more. 

The report, a collaboration among the international internet rights group Access Now, Amnesty International and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, calls for “an immediate moratorium” on the sale and transfer of spyware technology.

NSO is the most notorious mercenary spyware developer in the world. It creates powerful programs like Pegasus, which can hack smartphones to reveal information such as contacts, calls and location. 

The report does not conclusively find that Azerbaijan was behind the spyware used on Armenian citizens, though researchers noted that all instances of the spyware’s use occurred during or near the time of conflict between the two countries and against those who would be considered traditional espionage targets. Citizen Lab’s research found two distinct Pegasus operators in Azerbaijan, both of which were registered by 2018.

Three arms of the Azerbaijani government — the consul’s office in Washington, its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the president’s office — did not respond to requests for comment.

NSO has long insisted its software is intended only for governments to catch terrorists and criminals. But its spyware has repeatedly been found on the phones of dissidents in authoritarian countries. A global media consortium found in 2021 that Pegasus spyware had been used on at least 189 journalists and 85 human rights activists around the world.

NSO has denied responsibility in many of the cases where its software has been abused, arguing that its software was operated by independent, legitimate government agencies.

While governments around the world have long abused NSO tools, the findings revealed Thursday are the first time that civilians have been hacked while their country is in armed conflict with another country.

“We’ve expected this, but it’s still surprising when you see it,” said John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, which has for years documented NSO Group attacks. “And it’s a reminder that mercenary spyware is not just a cybersecurity problem. It is a geopolitical problem, and it is potentially capable of changing the outcome of armed conflict,” he said. His research contributed to the investigation. 


Lavrov Accuses U.S., its Allies of Plotting to ‘Throw Russia out of Armenia’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday accused the United States and its Western allies of plotting to pressure Yerevan into “throwing Russia out of Armenia.”

He told the Russian Tsargard television channel in an interview that Moscow has intelligence suggesting that the West is pressuring Armenia to end Russia’s military presence in Armenia and rely on the U.S. for its defense.

Based on a long-term treaty signed between Russia and Armenia soon after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian military is guarding Armenia’s border with Turkey. That agreement was recently extended well into the 2020s. Since the 2020 war, Russian border guards have also been stationed in positions in Armenia’s southern border in the Syunik Province to regulate the border with Azerbaijan.

“We have information that they [the U.S. and its allies] are signaling to the Armenians, ‘Come to us, kick the Russians out of your territory, remove the [Russian] military base and border guards too, the Americans will help to ensure your security,” Lavrov told Tsargrad in an interview broadcast on Wednesday.

Lavrov’s statement on Wednesday was by far the strongest accusation of the West by the Russian foreign ministry, which has condemned the U.S. and the European Union of allegedly hijacking the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process, as well as undermining agreements brokered by Moscow during and after the 44-Day war.

During the Tsargrad interview, Lavrov condemned the West calling its policies “blatant provocation.”

In the 32 years since Armenia’s independence and the settlement processes of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the U.S. and the West have stepped up their interest and cooperation with Armenia and its current government.

European Council President Charles Michel hosted talks between Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan on Sunday in Brussels, days after Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosted the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers, Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov, near Washington for four days of meetings.

Lavrov’s remarks come days before Mirzoyan and Bayramov are scheduled to meet in Moscow on Friday, which is rescheduling of a planned meeting in December, which was canceled at Yerevan’s request due to Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova confirmed to reporters on Wednesday that Mirzoyan and Bayramov will meet with Lavrov on Friday in Moscow, saying that talks will move forward as planned.
Relations between Yerevan and Moscow have become strained significantly, stemming from Armenia’s claims that Russia and the Collective Security Treaty Organization did not properly react to Yerevan’s appeal for assistance after Azerbaijani forces breached Armenia’s sovereign borders for a third time since 2021.

The CSTO and Moscow have countered and insisted that a monitoring mission by the Russia-led security bloc is on stand by and awaiting the green light from Yerevan, which requested and welcomed the deployment of a 100-person European Union mission along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan in February.

During the Tsargrad interview on Wednesday, Russia accused Yerevan of refusing the CSTO mission, the parameters of which were agreed to during the bloc’s annual summit in Yerevan in November.

“If Yerevan had confirmed what had already been agreed [by CSTO member states] … I am convinced that Armenia would have benefited and gotten a more stable situation,” Lavrov said.

Pashinyan and his government insist that they are dissatisfied with the CSTO’s failure to properly characterize and condemn the Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenia and has cited this as the reason for a delay in the deployment of the CSTO mission.

CSUN’s Armenian organizations educate students about culture and history

CSUN, California

Gallery|6 Photos
Brandon Balayan, Reporter

Throughout the last week of April, CSUN celebrated Armenian Heritage Week – an initiative by various Armenian organizations on campus to commemorate the Armenian genocide.

Campus organizations included the fraternity Alpha Epsilon Omega, the sorority Alpha Gamma Alpha, the Hidden Road Initiative and the Armenian Students Association.

The week began with the “Stain of Denial,” a protest against the denial of the Armenian genocide, and a vigil in remembrance of those whose lives were lost.

On April 26, an Armenian barbecue, or khorovats, was held at Matador Square with a dance performance by Patille Dance Studio.

The last event of the week included a tribute to Artsakh Awareness Day with a screening of the Armenian film “Neutral Zone” at the University Student Union.

Gallery|5 Photos

Brandon Balayan
Members of the CSUN Armenian Students Association hold flags and signs during their "Stain of Denial" protest on April 25, 2023. The protest, that commemorated the Armenian genocide of 1915, was held in front of the CSUN University Library in Northridge, Calif.

Armenian authorities institute criminal proceedings over Azerbaijani hate-motivated attack




YEREVAN, MAY 11, ARMENPRESS. The Investigative Committee of Armenia has opened criminal proceedings over the Azerbaijani military’s criminal actions.

In a statement, the investigative body said that the Azerbaijani troops who breached the ceasefire and opened gunfire at Armenian positions on May 11 near Sotk were motivated by racial, ethnic and national hatred, intolerance and animosity and sought to murder the Armenian troops.

The criminal case was initiated on 4 counts under the articles concerning conspiracy to commit intolerance/hate/animosity-motivated murder of on-duty servicemen because of the latter’s duties, racial, national, ethnic or social background (Clause 1, 7, 8 and 15 of paragraph 2 of Article 44-155 of the Criminal Code).

“Relevant measures are taken to reveal circumstances of the case and give final legal assessments to the criminal actions of the Azerbaijani military servicemen,” the Investigative Committee said.

Four Armenian troops were wounded in the May 11 Azerbaijani attack.

If Armenia Wants Western Defense Support, Doctrine And Partner Engagement Reform Must Happen Now

Global Security Review
May 1 2023

Armenia cannot protect the indigenous Nagorno-Karabakh people and Republic of Armenia without a competent vanguard. The Armenian Ministry of Defense can continue to rely on Russia, but will Moscow come to Armenia’s aid during another major attack? Probably not.

Armenia’s biggest vulnerability is that it relies on Russia for defense, which has been a noncommittal security guarantor since at least 2016’s Four Day War. After Armenia was attacked by Azerbaijan on sovereign territory, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan pleaded for help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russian dominated defense treaty alliance. In response the CSTO led sent a civilian delegate on “fact finding mission” damaged areas.

Following the week of attacks U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visited Yerevan and stated  Azerbaijan attack as “illegal and deadly”. This diplomatic serendipity to Armenia was a tremendous step for Washington’s advancing relations with Yerevan. However, the Speaker of the House is only one significant leader in the U.S. Government. Nations and non-state actors do not begin formal bilateral cooperation with the U.S. overnight. Cooperation requires many actors in diplomacy, private sector, military, law enforcement, lawmakers, and intelligence, to name some, who share common interest.

The U.S. probably has interests to work with Armenia due to shared democratic values, a bustling tech sector which cooperates with American companies, and diaspora members who carry a significant voice in domestic politics. Armenia very likely has interests to work with the U.S. for the sake of maintaining its sovereignty.  Yet one major point of concern for cooperation with Washington is that only Armenia recognizes the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) based on the Soviet Oblast’s referendum in the 1990s. The rest of the world, including Russia and the U.S., recognize Stalin’s redrawn borders placing the Armenian dominate population firmly within Baku’s authority.

The following are opportunities for Yerevan to press for its highest defense needs while soliciting the White House, Pentagon, and Congress for security assistance. Engaging these American actors probably will take more time, which is a luxury Yerevan does not have. Warm weather in the Caucasus is here again and Azerbaijan may attack again.

The most significant threat Armenia faces from Azerbaijan are Turkish-made TB-2 drones (UAVs). According to some war fighting experts, the TB-2 and other drones give Azerbaijan a tremendous attack advantage, providing air-to-ground missile fire, while simultaneously giving real time intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to troops. The Turkish-made drone was so successful after the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War against Armenian procured Russian defense systems that Ukraine decided to use the same weapons system in its war against Russia. Azerbaijan’s seemingly uncontested attack capability from the air can strike infantry vehicles, tanks, and deny logistics to the front lines.  Judging from sources online, Armenian Armed Forces and Nagorno-Karabakh Self Defense Forces do not seem to have a viable alternative to counter this great threat from the air.

Yerevan needs to understand that only IADS are the most capable counter to Azerbaijan’s threat from the air. To oversimplify, there are several air defense systems which can deny a threat including, man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), surface to air missiles (SAMs), air artillery guns (AAGs), and air-to-air denial from jets.

One option for Yerevan’s new IADS is the Mistral, a French MANPADS which can counter Azeri threats from the air. It operates in many countries outside France, such as Cyprus, Georgia, Serbia, and others. Although the Mistral has yet to be proven in combat against Turkish drones, it could provide a barrier in the air against Azerbaijan’s greatest weapons. France is the highest favored country by Armenians, according to a U.S. think tank poll, and President Macron’s pro-Armenian rhetoric could lead to an air defense deal. As the TB-2 and other Turkish UAVs are some of the most popular in the world today, a counter weapons system would arguably find great demand.

Every Armenian engineer and defense manufacturer should focus on IADS procurement, and domestic research and development right now, from tracking incoming threats to eliminating them.

It logically follows that Russian warfighting doctrine heavily influences Armenian warfighting doctrine. Both borrow from the Soviet Union. In 2011, then-Commanding General of the U.S. Army Europe Mark Hertling and an unnamed Russian General held a conversation on training personnel. General Hertling told his counterpart that without an effective non-commissioned officer (NCO) corps, Russian troops will never be trained effectively. Sure enough, lack of Russian NCOs have been one of the biggest operational issues during their Ukraine campaign. Russian NCOs “Are not in charge of tactics,” Russian military expert Michael Kofman opined to American defense news outlet Defense One “That’s why the Russian military is officer top-heavy. The officer corps handles all those issues that NCOs might.”

Armenia’s conscript-dependent military may desire to emulate the principles of a “professional military” (or “all-volunteer military” – these terms are used interchangeably). Yet, a significant overhaul in doctrine with war potentially imminent likely requires much more dedication in time, resources, and training to overcome critical personnel vulnerabilities. Yerevan can instead task its Ministry of Defense to train a robust NCO corps borrowing from Western doctrine such as the U.S. Call them, for example “Vartan’s Volunteers”, and establish prestige with joining a volunteer all-year NCO corps.

U.S. Medal of Honor Recipient and Afghanistan War Veteran Clint Romesha offered thoughts on what makes efficient NCOs to Task and Purpose, an American military news outlet,

While officers are the ones who put the plan together, it’s those enlisted leaders, the NCOs, who implement it. Even before those orders come down from the officers, the NCOs are moving proactively and preparing the troops, and they are usually the ones fighting with their junior soldiers on the front lines, leading them in combat.

This is not to suggest that Armenian NCOs, officers, or others are not competent. Rather, as some Armenian analysts call for Armenia to become a “Garrison State”, a strong, modern, defense doctrine needs to have “suits” (political and private sector), “stars” (generals and commissioned officers), and “stripes” (NCOs and conscripted) all understand their responsibilities and carry it out effectively. Immediate reform with NCO corps could be a short-term improvement to better improve command and control from the bottom-up, while doctrine is reformed top-down.

For recruitment and conscription guidance, Yerevan can look to nations which have successful programs. Singapore’srelations with Washington are strong and likewise with Yerevan. Singapore’s military has extensively trained with the U.S. and could probably provide insight on personnel, training, and logistics from a civilian to solider mentality. Furthermore, Armenia can utilize contractors from eclectic backgrounds, such as diaspora Armenians from U.S., France, Russia, Lebanon, Greece, or elsewhere. The Armenian government could expand its robust diaspora work-live programs for contractors to train conscripted soldiers, thereby increasing the rate of trained civilians. Moreover, a diaspora group of military experts could perhaps work with the Ministry of Defense as an affiliate council to study and suggest micro and macro-Armenian military inquiries.

Above all, Yerevan must think beyond “pro-Moscow” or “anti-Moscow”. The best militaries in the world borrow strategies, doctrine, operational planning, and more from others to enhance assets to their greatest potential. They do not prepare to fight the last war.

India’s major arms deal to Armenia may be the first step in a blossoming Armenian relationship. Azerbaijan is strongly allied with Pakistan. India and Pakistan historically share animosity.  Moreover, India views Armenia as a vital link to for its trade route from Iran through the Black Sea region. Indian Mountain Brigades are some of the best mountain troops in the world. It can be argued that Indian President Modhi could find training Armenia for combat in high terrain to test his best operational and tactical methods for the ongoing challenges with China in their own disputed territory.

French President Macron and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan have spoken over the phone many times since the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. French Sniper Schools are some of the most well-respected institutions in the world. French sniper training to Armenian long-range fighters could prove to be vital for another defensive conflict judging from the rugged terrain and long lines of sight within Armenian territory.

South Korea is a nation which always must consider border security. Perhaps Armenia could learn from South Korean defense against neighboring North Korea, utilizing training programs, expertise on surveillance and counter surveillance, mining, reconnaissance, and communications to headquarters from the forward line of troops.

Yerevan needs to look beyond Russian suppliers for equipment and arms procurement. Diplomatic loyalty to allies and financial cost can often be problematic factors for nations who desire to bulwark defense capabilities. If Armenia’s ultimate goal is to earn Washington’s trust and purchase arms from the American private sector, Yerevan should engage US friendly countries to procure “surplus” while diaspora and Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs press American private companies and Congress to procure from the “source”.

Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan declined in relations during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War when Saudi Arabia called for peace instead affirming the Azeri position on territorial claims. Saudi Arabia might be under the impression that a crippled Armenia would mean Turkish dominance over the Caucasus region, and therefore may be inclined to send equipment and defensive weapons to Armenia. Yerevan can argue to Riyadh, perhaps making a case that a Turkish dominated Caucasus region would mean that Sunni Muslim nations in the central Asian steppe would be more inclined to follow Turkey rather than Saudi Arabia.

Greece shares over 2,000 years of mostly positive relations with Armenia. Today, Athens confronts hostile rhetoric from Turkey’s President Erdogan. In 2020, Greece accused Turkish troops of making an incursion within Greek territory. In 2022, Athens sent millions of dollars in defense equipment to Ukraine, according to a speech given by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the U.S. Congress. A revamped Greek military considering perceived Turkish aggression and NATO duties to Ukraine could also aid Armenia.

Brazil just concluded the closest election in its history. Armenia can play to the new President Lula da Silva under the guise as the first Christian nation who desires to prevent another genocide on the grounds of protecting democracy and human rights. Lula may want a quick foreign policy victory as an ecumenical issue while Brazil remains divided domestically. The small but impactful Brazilian-Armenian diaspora can be utilized to this degree.

Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Christian minority (which shares ties to Armenian Apostolic Christians) recently suffered a tragic deadly loss of 41 believers in a fire. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi may be seeking an opportunity of good will to his non-Muslim supporters, assisting Armenia could be one. Furthermore, Egyptian-Turkish relations have gone through a rough patch since 2013. Yerevan could leverage Egypt if El-Sisi desires to press Turkey in the tense Eastern Mediterranean.

The above are just a few examples. Yerevan should indiscriminately look to the broader US community of allies. Yet most important, the Armenian Diaspora should focus all efforts on one primary goal: earning the trust of the US military defense industry and carry out private sector deals to Yerevan.

The Armenian Diaspora’s extensive networks were instrumental in pushing the recognition of Armenian Genocide by the Executive Branch, Legislative Branch, and state governments. Yet for all the Diaspora’s merits to raise awareness in history, new history can arguably be made if Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh are ethnically cleansed from their homes. Armenian Diaspora can use their tremendously organized body to engage U.S. blue-chip defense contractors. Diaspora education can encourage the American private sector to push Congress for Yerevan to eventually procure American equipment. Once permission is granted, private sector defense contractors can immediately begin selling systems to the now-democratic former Soviet republic for self-defense purposes.

Jack Dulgarian is an independent analyst focusing on security, cultural, political, and economic issues in Eastern Europe and the Near East. He has worked in the defense industry, Capitol Hill, and a refugee humanitarian foundation based out of Athens, Greece.

Art: Armenian Turkish artist Sarkis’ ‘Endless’ opens at Istanbul’s Arter

Turkey – May 4 2023

Armenian Turkish conceptual artist Sarkis Zabunyan's personal exhibition "Endless" ("Sonsuz") awaits Istanbulities in Arter art gallery.

Melih Fereli, the founding director of Arter, stated during the preview that a selection of Sarkis' works from Arter's collections archive will be exhibited.

"'Endless' consists of a selection that starts with works dating back to the 1980s and includes neon and mirrors that Sarkis donated to the Arter Collection, as well as his installation named 'Respiro' that he created for the Turkish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015."

Emre Baykal, who curated the exhibition, stated that Sarkis has always taught him something new. He said: "In every conversation and every exhibition we worked together, Sarkis continues to surprise and fascinate not only me but also all the teams he works with."

Baykal pointed out that Sarkis reinterpreted his works exhibited in the show with memories of different times and places. "Sarkis transforms 'Endless' into a multi-voiced performance by combining elements such as light, color and music that play a leading role in his practice," he added.

Sarkis has exhibited his work in some of the world's most prestigious art events, including the Venice Biennale, Documenta and the Paris Biennale.

He has created large-scale installations for public spaces around the world, including the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul.

Armenia, India set to ‘open new chapter’ in cooperation with healthcare agreements



 10:45, 3 May 2023

YEREVAN, MAY 3, ARMENPRESS. Armenia and India are planning to sign two agreements in the healthcare sector which will “open a new chapter” in the cooperation between the two countries, the healthcare ministry said in a press release on May 3.

The agreements are being prepared as a result of Healthcare Minister Anahit Avanesyan’s visit to India.

Avanesyan discussed details on the agreements with the Ambassador of India Nilakshi Saha Sinha in Yerevan.

One of the agreements will be aimed at Armenia’s potential in pharmaceuticals, which can be attractive for India also in terms of accessing the EEU market.

The second agreement, which will be signed between the healthcare ministries of the two countries, will pertain to the public health and medical science sectors.

Avanesyan and the Indian ambassador also discussed possibilities for developing medical tourism, accessibility of services in the transplant area, as well as exchange of experience projects.

“Political dialogue is on a very high level between our countries. I hope your mission in Armenia will also contribute to utilizing this potential in concrete sectors,” Avanesyan said.

RFE/RL Armenian Report – 05/01/2023

                                        Monday, May 1, 2023

Armenia-Azerbaijan Talks In Washington To Last ‘A Few Days’

        • Siranuysh Gevorgian

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and Armenian Foreign Minister 
Ararat Mirzoyan during their meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, October 2, 2022.

Bilateral talks between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in 
Washington will be held over the course of “a few days”, according to a senior 
official in the United States privy to details of the negotiations schedule.

“Both parties have acknowledged that this is the first time that they will be 
able to meet over the course of a few days,” the official said. “We expect 
discussions throughout the week. Our goal is to make sure that the ministers are 
able to sit down and talk to each other.”

The first bilateral meeting between Ararat Mirzoyan, of Armenia, and Jeyhun 
Bayramov, of Azerbaijan, took place on Monday and followed their separate 
meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken as well as their trilateral 
meeting in Washington.

Prior to the meetings Blinken said in phone calls with the leaders of Armenia 
and Azerbaijan – Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and President Ilham Aliyev – 
that the United States remained committed to supporting the peace efforts of the 
two countries.

The official at the State Department said that the Washington talks between 
Mirzoyan and Bayramov were focused on trying to hammer out an agreement on 
“normalization of relations.”

“It is for both parties to normalize their relations to be able to live together 
[…], to strengthen their economic ties and perhaps even to reinforce their 
collective security in the region,” he said, adding that all issues, including 
issues of how ethnic minorities are treated in both countries in terms of their 
rights and security, are “being discussed.”

Another senior U.S. official familiar with the negotiations said that “rights 
and security are something that we believe is very important in terms of what 
the future of the region looks like, is something that we have continually 
engaged with throughout the region, and we will continue to be engaged on.”

The official also reiterated the importance of ensuring free movement of 
commercial and private vehicles along the Lachin Corridor between Armenia and 
Nagorno-Karabakh that was completely blocked by Azerbaijan on April 23 when it 
established a checkpoint at the entrance to the five-kilometer-wide corridor.

Armenian, Azerbaijani FMs In U.S.-Hosted Talks

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosting a meeting between Armenian 
Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun 
Bayramov, Washington, May 1, 2023.

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Washington on Monday for 
another round of talks hosted by the United States that are aimed at hammering 
out a peace agreement between the two South Caucasus nations locked in a 
protracted conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Before their meeting Armenia’s Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijan’s Jeyhun Bayramov 
met separately with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who had earlier 
expressed Washington’s continued support for the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace 

Blinken then met the two visiting ministers together before what was expected to 
be their bilateral peace negotiations.

In a brief statement on the Blinken-Mirzoyan-Bayramov meeting Armenia’s Foreign 
Ministry said late on May 1 that “issues of the security situation in the region 
and the process of normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan 
were discussed.”

“The humanitarian situation resulting from the illegal blockade of the Lachin 
corridor by Azerbaijan was addressed,” the ministry added.

The readout on the meeting released by the Azerbaijani side did not have any 
mention of the Lachin corridor issue.

In weekend phone calls with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan Blinken 
reportedly pledged Washington’s continued support for the two countries’ peace 

In his phone call with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian he reiterated 
that “direct dialogue and diplomacy are the only path to a durable peace in the 
South Caucasus” and “expressed his appreciation for the Prime Minister’s 
continued commitment to the peace process.”

Talking to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Blinken “shared his belief that 
peace was possible” and “expressed the United States’ deep concern that 
Azerbaijan’s establishment of a checkpoint on the Lachin corridor undermines 
efforts to establish confidence in the peace process, and emphasized the 
importance of reopening the Lachin corridor to commercial and private vehicles 
as soon as possible.”

Azerbaijan installed the checkpoint at the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh 
with Armenia on April 23. The move tightened the already existing blockade of 
the mostly ethnic Armenian-populated region that was effectively imposed by 
government-backed Azerbaijani protesters back in December.

Yerevan and Stepanakert view the roadblock as illegal and contradicting the 
Moscow-brokered ceasefire agreement that put an end to a six-week 
Armenian-Azerbaijani war over Nagorno-Karabakh and placed solely Russian 
peacekeepers in charge of providing security for Nagorno-Karabakh and ensuring 
free movement for its people along the five-kilometer-wide corridor.

Official Baku denies blockading Nagorno-Karabakh, pledging to ensure, “in 
cooperation with Russian peacekeepers” deployed in the region, all “necessary 
conditions” for “a transparent and orderly passage of Armenian residents living 
in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan” in both directions. It stresses that the 
checkpoint was installed in Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory and calls Armenia’s 
interference with the affair “unacceptable.”

A senior U.S. Department of State official told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on May 
1 that Mirzoyan-Bayramov negotiations in Washington will last for “several days.”

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh for 
decades. Some 30,000 people were killed in a war in the early 1990s that left 
ethnic Armenians in control of the predominantly Armenian-populated region and 
seven adjacent districts of Azerbaijan proper.

Decades of internationally mediated talks failed to result in a diplomatic 
solution and the simmering conflict led to another war in 2020 in which nearly 
7,000 soldiers were killed on both sides.

The six-week war in which Azerbaijan regained all of the Armenian-controlled 
areas outside of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as chunks of territory inside the 
Soviet-era autonomous oblast proper ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire under 
which Moscow deployed about 2,000 troops to the region to serve as peacekeepers.

Tensions along the restive Armenian-Azerbaijani border and around 
Nagorno-Karabakh leading to sporadic fighting and loss of life have persisted 
despite the ceasefire. At least three Azerbaijani and four Armenian soldiers 
were killed in the most recent border skirmish on April 11.

Armenian Airline Barred From Turkish Airspace

        • Nane Sahakian

A FlyOne Armenia plane taking off from Yerevan’s Zvartnots Airport (file photo).

An Armenian airline has been prohibited from operating commercial flights 
through Turkish airspace for yet unclear reasons, its representative said on 

On April 29, a Flyone Armenia plane operating a flight from Paris to Yerevan had 
to land in Chisinau, Moldova, after Turkey’s aviation authorities banned it from 
entering the country’s airspace. Flyone Armenia said it had not been informed 
about the decision in advance.

The Armenian airline’s representative told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that they 
still did not know why Turkey had revised its permission.

“Some of our flights to Europe that are operated through Turkish airspace cannot 
be carried out using Turkish airspace for the time being. We have no information 
about the reasons,” Aram Ananian, chairman of Flyone Armenia’s board, said.

He said that the Armenian airline had received all the permissions to operate 
flights through Turkish airspace during the 2023 summer season in advance. “We 
do not see any reason related to any aviation activity that would lead to this 
decision,” Ananian added.

Flights operated from Armenia to Europe have few alternatives to transit through 
Turkish airspace because of the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war as a result of 
which much of the region’s airspace is declared a no-fly zone.

But Flyone Armenia’s official has pledged that the airline will carry out all 
its flights as scheduled in cooperation with European partners and that no 
ticket holder will face any problems. He did not elaborate.

Flyone Armenia, which was founded in 2021 and operates flights to several 
destinations in Europe and Russia, since last year has also operated 
Yerevan-Istanbul-Yerevan flights. Meanwhile, the Turkish Pegasus airline has 
been operating Istanbul-Yerevan-Istanbul flights.

The resumption of air flights between Armenia and Turkey in 2022 was touted by 
both countries as progress in their efforts to achieve normalization after 
decades of feud over historical issues.

Flyone Armenia said it assumed that the ban concerned transit through Turkish 
airspace and not flights to and from Istanbul, as the Turkish side has not 
informed the Armenian airline about any obstacles to these flights yet.

Armenia’s General Department of Civil Aviation did not comment immediately on 
whether the Turkish ban applies only to Flyone Armenia or in general to all 
Armenia-registered airlines. It promised to answer questions on May 2 when its 
officials return to work after the holiday.

U.S. Vows Support For Armenia-Azerbaijan Peace Efforts Ahead Of Fresh Talks

A trilateral meeting of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, Azerbaijani 
President Ilham Aliyev, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Munich, 
Germany, February 18, 2023.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged Washington’s continued 
support for peace efforts by Armenia and Azerbaijan as he spoke over the phone 
separately with the leaders of the two countries during the weekend.

The phone calls came as Yerevan and Baku announced that their foreign ministers 
were heading to Washington for a fresh round of talks this week.

The readout of Blinken’s phone call with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian released 
by a Department of State spokesperson on April 29 said that the U.S. secretary 
of state spoke with the Armenian leader “to underscore the importance of 
Armenia-Azerbaijan peace discussions and pledged continued U.S. support.”

“Secretary Blinken reiterated that direct dialogue and diplomacy are the only 
path to a durable peace in the South Caucasus. He expressed his appreciation for 
the Prime Minister’s continued commitment to the peace process,” it added.

The next day Blinken repeated the message of the importance of peace discussions 
and continued U.S. support in his phone call with Azerbaijani President Ilham 
Aliyev during which he also “shared his belief that peace was possible.”

The phone calls came amid heightened tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan 
after Baku on April 23 set up a checkpoint at the entrance to the Lachin 
Corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.

Azerbaijan’s roadblock tightened what already was an effective blockade of the 
region by government-backed Azerbaijani protesters since December.

Armenia described the move as “illegal” and “unacceptable”, stressing that it 
contradicted the Moscow-brokered 2020 ceasefire agreement that placed solely 
Russian peacekeepers in charge of providing security for Nagorno-Karabakh and 
ensuring free movement for its people along the five-kilometer-wide corridor. 
Yerevan also ruled out any new negotiations regarding the Lachin corridor that 
it said Baku must unblock.

According to a spokesperson in Washington, during his April 30 phone call with 
Aliyev Blinken also “expressed the United States’ deep concern that Azerbaijan’s 
establishment of a checkpoint on the Lachin corridor undermines efforts to 
establish confidence in the peace process, and emphasized the importance of 
reopening the Lachin corridor to commercial and private vehicles as soon as 

According to his press office, Pashinian also raised the issue of the Lachin 
corridor in his phone call with Blinken. In particular, he reportedly emphasized 
that “the steps taken by the Azerbaijani side in the Lachin corridor are aimed 
at the consistent implementation of its policy of ethnic cleansing in 
Nagorno-Karabakh and the complete eviction of Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh.”

The Armenian prime minister also “emphasized the importance of the adequate 
response of the international community to Azerbaijan’s actions, which undermine 
regional security, and taking active steps towards the unconditional 
implementation of the order of the International Court of Justice.”

The Hague-based court ruled on February 22 that the Azerbaijani government must 
“take all measures at its disposal to ensure unimpeded movement of persons, 
vehicles and cargo along the Lachin corridor in both directions.”

Official Baku denies blockading Nagorno-Karabakh, pledging to ensure, in 
cooperation with Russian peacekeepers deployed in the region, all “necessary 
conditions” for “a transparent and orderly passage of Armenian residents living 
in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan” in both directions.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh for 
decades. Some 30,000 people were killed in a war in the early 1990s that left 
ethnic Armenians in control of the predominantly Armenian-populated region and 
seven adjacent districts of Azerbaijan proper.

Decades of internationally mediated talks failed to result in a diplomatic 
solution and the simmering conflict led to another war in 2020 in which nearly 
7,000 soldiers were killed on both sides.

The six-week war in which Azerbaijan regained all of the Armenian-controlled 
areas outside of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as chunks of territory inside the 
Soviet-era autonomous oblast proper ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire under 
which Moscow deployed about 2,000 troops to the region to serve as peacekeepers.

Tensions along the restive Armenian-Azerbaijani border and around 
Nagorno-Karabakh leading to sporadic fighting and loss of life have persisted 
despite the ceasefire. At least three Azerbaijani and four Armenian soldiers 
were killed in the most recent border skirmish on April 11.

Reposted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL
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