Armenia and Azerbaijan hold further border delimitation talks amid fresh fighting

Armenia and Azerbaijan held further talks on border delimitation on Wednesday (12 July) amid reports of fresh fighting over the past two days.

A press release from the Armenian foreign ministry read that a meeting was held "on the border between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, under the chairmanship of Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Mher Grigoryan and Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan Shahin Mustafayev".

"The sides continued the discussion of border delimitation issues and touched upon a number of organizational and procedural issues," the statement said, adding that the sides "agreed to set the date and the place of the next meeting of the commissions in working order".

A press release from the Azerbaijani foreign ministry said much the same, confirming that "the sides continued the discussion of delimitation issues and reviewed a number of organizational and procedural manners taking into account the agreements reached in various formats at the level of the leaders of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia".

Fresh fighting reported across Armenia-Azerbaijan border

The meeting on Wednesday came after fighting across Armenia and Azerbaijan's mutual border was reported. At least one Azerbaijani and two Armenian soldiers were wounded in border skirmishes on Tuesday evening (11 July) which continued the following day.

The two sides blamed each other for the ceasefire violations reported by them from border areas separating Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province from Azerbaijan’s Lachin district.

Border delimitation parameters remain a stumbling block

The question of border demarcation was discussed in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau at a meeting of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on 1 June. Following that meeting Pashinyan suggested that Baku is open to accepting an Armenian proposal to use 1975 Soviet maps as a basis for delimiting the long border.

The Azerbaijani foreign ministry denied that, however, emphasising that Azerbaijan has demarcated its borders with other neighbouring states "on the basis of analyses and examination of legally binding documents, rather than any specially chosen map".

Agreeing on the parameters of border delimitation remains a stumbling block in ongoing Armenia-Azerbaijan negotiations, with Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan acknowledging as much on 5 June.

PM Pashinyan and President Aliyev are due to meet in Brussels on 21 July.

source: with agencies
photo: Armenian Weekly