Following discussions facilitated by Russian President Vladimir Putin on October 31, leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan didn’t agree on any peace treaty, but vowed to “actively” work on an agreement. They also acknowledged that they still needed to resolve their differences on some of its key aspects.
Putin deemed the two-hour trilateral meeting with Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia to be “extremely constructive” since it helped to foster a “very favorable environment for potential future agreements on several major topics.”
No mention of the Nagorno-Karabakh war in the statement
The statement, however, makes no mention of the Nagorno-Karabakh war or any specifics on Armenian POWs, the Zangezur corridor, etc.
After the summit in Sochi, he declared, “Today we reached an agreement on a common statement. “I have to be honest and confess that not everything was decided upon. Some elements of the text that were previously figured out at an expert level had to be removed “He said, adding nothing further.
They “decided to refrain from the use of force or the threat of its use and debate and settle all contentious problems purely based on mutual respect of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of borders,” Aliyev and Pashinyan said in the joint statement.
In a later statement, Putin hinted that “unresolved matters” won’t be discussed in public. “It is not necessary to draw the attention of the press and the public to them, but merely quietly seek consensus behind closed doors,” he added.
In response to queries from the media, Putin later stated: “It is still premature to talk about the important aspects of the peace treaty since this is still the topic of concessions which must be achieved on both sides through mediation.”
Having no achievements, Russia criticises the Western initiative
Putin had said controversial things about the Western diplomatic efforts at the Valdai Summit on October 27. In response to Armenia’s decision, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on October 27: “If the Armenian people and the current Armenian leadership consider it necessary to choose a version of the peace agreement, the so-called Washington variant, which as I understand it envisages the recognition of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Karabakh as a whole, that is if Armenia thinks that way – then go ahead.” “We will back the Armenian people’s decision,” he said.
Although the details of these plans are unknown, it is obvious that Putin was unable to persuade Aliyev to suspend the topic of Karabakh, which is the most delicate one for the Armenian side.
Putin asserts that the decision to extend the Russian troops’ mission in Nagorno-Karabakh is dependent on several other factors, including the potential signing of a peace treaty and the delineation and demarcation of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. “The position of peacekeepers will change if these problems are overcome. The fate of our peacekeeping force will be in jeopardy if they are not partially resolved, he said.
Following the summit or their meetings with Putin, none of the parties made any public statements. The Sochi summit highlighted Russian efforts to retake the initiative in the recent months’ US-EU-coordinated negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Western mediation has drawn criticism from Moscow, which claims that its goal is to “push Russia out of the South Caucasus.”
Russia sells weapons to both, Armenia and Azerbaijan
Moscow has benefited financially in recent years from the smoldering conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, which periodically erupts into an intense phase.
Russia has kept supplying weapons to Armenia and Azerbaijan in recent years. Moscow provides Armenia with a similar set of weapons to those that Azerbaijan had previously purchased. The military balance will unquestionably shift in favor of Yerevan as a result of those supplies, but Baku will continue to hold some advantages.
Between 2010 and 2019, Armenia spent $5 billion on Russian weapons. Moscow also periodically provided Yerevan with new funds so that the CSTO ally could pay its debts. The most recent was a $200 million loan for the acquisition of weaponry under a 2015 deal that the parties ratified. Deliveries under this agreement happened in 2018.
Between 2010 and 2014, Moscow and Baku signed several contracts for helicopters, surface-to-air missile systems, tank equipment, and artillery armor with a total value of nearly $4 billion.