Azerbaijan: Signing peace deal with Armenia ‘inevitable’

Azerbaijan has said that a peace agreement with neighbouring Armenia would be “inevitable” as the two sides continue work to end a decades-long dispute.

“We believe that it is inevitable to achieve peace in accordance with international law and principles. The peace treaty and the agreement on the normalisation of inter-state relations should be drawn up and signed,” Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said on Monday at a press briefing in the capital Baku.

Bayramov said securing a peace agreement with Yerevan has been one of the top issues since the two sides fought the Second Karabakh War, a 44-day conflict in 2020 that saw Azerbaijan liberate several cities, villages and settlements from nearly 30 years of Armenian occupation.

However, these efforts were interrupted for about six months after the Armenian side boycotted negotiations, he added.

Delegations from the two sides held mediated talks last month in Washington, Bayramov said.

“Later, this process was continued at the level of leaders, and several meetings took place in May. Negotiations on a peace settlement directly with the Armenian delegation took place in Moscow in a one-day phase,” he added.

While another meeting is planned soon in Washington, Bayramov said this made it no less difficult to predict how long the peace and normalisation process will take.

Tensed relations

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenia occupied Karabakh, a territory internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan and seven adjacent regions.

In the fall of 2020, Azerbaijan liberated several cities, villages and settlements from Armenian occupation during 44 days of clashes. The Russia-brokered peace agreement is celebrated as a triumph in Azerbaijan.

Despite the ongoing talks on a peace agreement, tensions between the neighbouring countries increased in recent months over the Lachin corridor, the only land route giving Armenia access to Karabakh.