Progress Reported in Armenia-Azerbaijan Border Delimitation Talks

Progress Reported in Armenia-Azerbaijan Border Delimitation Talks

Armenia and Azerbaijan have made progress in their ongoing border delimitation negotiations, the Armenian government reported on Monday.

“Negotiations continue constructively,” stated a brief announcement from the office of Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigorian.

The statement noted that the Armenian and Azerbaijani government commissions on border delimitation have exchanged draft “regulations” for their joint work and plan to finalize a common document “soon.”

The Azerbaijani government released a similar statement, also lacking specifics.

The two commissions had committed to agreeing on the regulations by July 1, following their April 19 announcement of the delimitation process, which involved Armenian territorial concessions to Azerbaijan. In the ensuing weeks, Baku gained control of disputed border areas previously occupied by four Azerbaijani villages captured by Armenian forces in 1991-1992.

At that time, the Azerbaijani army had occupied large areas of land belonging to several villages in Armenia’s Tavush province. Despite the Armenian concessions, the Azerbaijani army has not withdrawn from this land, nor has it vacated Armenian territory seized in 2021 and 2022.

The land transfer, strongly condemned by the Armenian opposition, sparked protests in Tavush border villages, led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, then head of the Armenian Apostolic Church. After failing to prevent the handover, Galstanyan took his campaign to Yerevan, holding a series of large rallies in May and June in an effort to oust Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

Pashinyan has defended his concessions, arguing that they will pave the way for Azerbaijan’s recognition of Armenia’s territorial integrity. He claimed this “positive experience” would be instrumental in the border delimitation and demarcation process, purportedly based on the 1991 Alma-Ata Declaration signed by newly independent ex-Soviet republics.

Earlier on Monday, Pashinyan declined to comment on the process when approached by an RFE/RL correspondent in Yerevan.

The 1991 declaration committed Armenia, Azerbaijan, and other ex-Soviet states to recognizing each other’s Soviet-era borders, though it does not provide a detailed description of those borders.

Yerevan has insisted, at least until recently, that the two South Caucasus states should use Soviet military maps drawn in the 1970s as a basis for border delimitation. Baku has rejected this, signaling its apparent desire to gain more territory without ceding any in return.