Armenia Offers ‘Immediate’ Peace Talks With Azerbaijan

Armenia Offers ‘Immediate’ Peace Talks With Azerbaijan

Armenia said on Monday that it is willing to “immediately” start negotiations on a peace treaty with Azerbaijan in a bid to prevent fresh Azerbaijani attacks on Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Armenian government’s Security Council also called on the international community to activate “containment mechanisms” in view of “the possibility of military clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh and on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border.”

“The analysis of the situation shows that Azerbaijan … is preparing the ground to launch new provocations and attacks in the direction of Nagorno-Karabakh, including by accusing the Armenia of unconstructive actions on the issue of a peace treaty,” the council said after a late-night session chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.

In a statement, it offered Baku to “immediately start negotiations on a comprehensive peace treaty” between the two South Caucasus nations.

The statement came four days after the Azerbaijani army captured a village in eastern Karabakh and surrounding territory, triggering deadly fighting with Karabakh Armenian forces. Azerbaijani troops partially withdrew from the area after the intervention of Russian peacekeepers stationed in Karabakh.

Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov discussed the situation in Karabakh with the army’s top brass earlier on Monday. He reportedly said that Azerbaijani forces must be “ready to use modern weaponry and other military equipment at any moment.”

Meanwhile, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan’s held separate meetings with the Russian co-chair of the Minsk Group, Igor Khovaev, as well as the Yerevan-based ambassadors of Russia, the United States and France. The tensions in Karabakh were high on their agenda.

According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Mirzoyan told Khovaev that Armenia is ready to start negotiating with Azerbaijan on the peace treaty “within the framework of the co-chairmanship of the Minsk Group.”

Earlier this month, Yerevan asked the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the Minsk Group to mediate such talks after receiving a five-point formal proposal from the Azerbaijani side. The proposal includes, among other things, a mutual commitment to recognize each other’s territorial integrity.