Pashinyan, Aliyev, Putin Sign Agreement to ‘Unblock’ Armenia-Azerbaijan Border
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on the observance of agreements on resolving the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh important and useful.
“I consider today’s meeting extremely important and useful, since we were able to come to an agreement and signed a joint statement on the development of the situation in the region,” the Russian leader said following the talks on Monday. He clarified that he meant concrete steps to develop economic ties and infrastructure projects as outlined in a joint statement signed by the three leaders following the meeting.
Putin added that for this purpose “a working group will be created, which will be headed by the deputy-prime ministers of three governments – Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia.” Putin specified that in the near future the deputy prime ministers of the governments will create working subgroups, present concrete plans for the development of the transport infrastructure and the economy of the region. “I am sure that the implementation of these agreements will benefit both the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples, without any doubt it will benefit the region as a whole, and therefore the interests of the Russian Federation,” the head of the Russian state stressed.
Pashinyan said that the implementation of the agreements enshrined in the joint statement can change the economic prospect of the region. According to him, the new economic situation can lead to more security guarantees.
‘’We are ready to make constructive efforts in that direction. I think it’s not possible to solve all the issues during one meeting, but I hope we will move forward. At the moment, the humanitarian issues remain priority, particularly, the exchange of war prisoners provided by our November 9 declaration,” Pashinyan said after the meeting.
“I will not hide the fact that its [the agreement’s] implementation may simply change the economic image and appearance of our region,” said Pashinyan, expressing hope that economic reforms will become another “reliable guarantor of security” and will increase the investment attractiveness of the region.
Aliyev also hailed Monday’s agreement, saying that after more than 30 years, Azerbaijan will have a transport connection through the territory of Armenia with its Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, and Armenia through the territory of Azerbaijan will receive a railway connection to Russia and Iran.
“We will also have access to the Turkish market through the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, the Turkish and Russian railway arteries will be connected,” Aliyev said, adding that this can create a huge momentum for the development of the region and strengthen its security.
”Unfortunately, this conflict is not resolved yet. We managed to establish a ceasefire but there are still issues that have not been solved. One of them is the status of Nagorno Karabakh. Armenia is ready to continue the negotiations in the sidelines of the OSCE Minsk Group format. Unfortunately, today we did not succeed in solving the issue of war prisoners, which is the most sensitive and painful issue. That’s a humanitarian issue and we agreed to continue works in this direction, but we think that the 8th point of our joint declarations is not being fully implemented. I hope that we will be able to achieve concrete solutions in a short period,” Pashinyan explained.
“Special emphasis is required for the opening of economic, trade and transport links in the region,” said Putin in opening remarks at the Kremlins on Monday.
Putin also expressed his satisfaction with the ongoing implementation of the provisions of the November 9 agreement.
“For Russia it is vital to have allied and good neighborly relations, which bond our countries and people together. That is why we were sincerely concerned and worried for the fate of the people and were following the military conflict that erupted in the region,” said Putin.
“The Large-scale military operations, sadly, resulted in significant loss of life, exacerbated the already difficult situation in the Caucasus and increased the risk of spreading terrorism,” added Putin.
“We were in constant contact, we were looking for a compromise solutions together, after which a trilateral statement was agreed upon on November 9, which we signed together. “Today we can emphasize with satisfaction that the trilateral agreement is being implemented,” Putin said.
“Today, it will be important to outline the next steps in the key directions of the settlement outlined in last year’s joint statement of November 9,” Putin said. ‘I am talking about issues connected to the activities of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, clarification of demarcation lines, solving humanitarian problems, protection of cultural heritage sites.’
Putin said Russia continue to discuss its efforts with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.
“In order to maintain the ceasefire, Russian peacekeepers have been deployed at the request of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Now the situation in the region is calm. Through Russian mediation, exchanged of captives and remains are taking place,” said Putin.
“Now the situation in the region is calm,” the Russian leader stressed. He also explained that since November 14, over 48,000 people have returned to Karabakh, and with the mediation of Russia, an exchange of prisoners and remains of soldiers has been made. Putin called the work of the international humanitarian response center, which is engaged in establishing normal life in settlements, reconstructing destroyed infrastructure, protecting historical, religious and cultural monuments, and restoring energy and heat supply, as successful. The Russian leader said that more than 800 tons of building materials have already been delivered from Russia to the conflict zone, and in total, more than 1.5 million tons of humanitarian cargo, over 479 hectares of land have been cleared of mines.