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Yerevan and Baku Disagree on Key Provisions of Bilateral Treaty

  • Azerbaijan and Armenia held two days of peace negotiations in Kazakhstan, but the foreign ministers failed to agree on a bilateral peace treaty.
  • Anti-government protests in Yerevan have been mounting due to a recent demarcation deal, with tens of thousands of demonstrators calling for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian's resignation.
  • The United States and the European Union have hailed the border agreement, which has been opposed by an outspoken Armenian archbishop.
Azerbaijan Armenia

Armenia and Azerbaijan negotiators continue to disagree on key provisions of a bilateral peace treaty, officials in Yerevan and Baku said on May 11 after the foreign ministers of the two nations ended two days of fresh negotiations in Kazakhstan.

The Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers were meeting in the Kazakh city, Almaty, in talks aimed at reaching a lasting peace treaty between the longtime South Caucasus rivals.

“The parties agreed to continue negotiations on open issues where there are still differences,” both ministries said in nearly identical statements.

The statements did not specify the differences. Nor did they indicate whether Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Jeyhun Bayramov, had made any progress toward a peace deal.

The negotiations come against a backdrop of mounting street protests in Yerevan against a demarcation deal last month, as Baku tries to consolidate its gains from a lightning offensive last year to retake areas long held by ethnic Armenians.

Mirzoyan said on May 10 that his country is prepared not just for a peace treaty but also to move forward to unblock transport routes.

Mirzoyan and Bayramov last negotiated directly with each other in Berlin in February.

Kazakh Foreign Minister Murat Nurtleu hosted the talks in Almaty.

Yerevan and Baku preliminarily agreed in a protocol signed on April 19 on separate sections of the border line to align it with a Soviet-era border between the respective republics. In it, Armenia cedes control of four villages controlled by Yerevan since the 1990s.

The deal has been staunchly opposed by an outspoken Armenian archbishop who has attracted tens of thousands of demonstrators in Yerevan with calls for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian's resignation and a civil disobedience campaign.

The border agreement has been hailed by the United States and the European Union, as well as by Pashinian, who has been accused by opposition politicians of giving up territory with no guarantees.

Archbishop Bagrat Galstanian, the leader of the Tavush Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, led a march on May 10 at which he called for university students to ratchet up pressure for Pashinian's resignation.

"We must continue our civil disobedience actions," he said.

By RFE/RL 

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