Benyamin Poghosyan - Status of Armenia-Azerbaijan Negotiations | Armenian Diplomacy in the West | Relations With Russia | Ep 296, Dec 3, 2023 [EP296]

Posted on Monday, Dec 4, 2023 | Category: Armenia, Politics | Series: wir

Guest:

Topics:

  • Armenian-Azerbaijani Negotiations
  • Armenian Diplomacy in the West
  • Relations with Russia

Episode 296 | Recorded: December 3, 2023

Show Notes

Armenian Azerbaijani Negotiations

In the past two weeks since our last Week-in-Review show, the state of Armenian Azerbaijani negotiations appears to shift on a daily basis.

At this point it’s clear that Aliyev thinks he’s gotten the maximum out of western mediation so he’s now trying to shift the negotiations either to a direct format with Armenia, or one mediated through some regional player.

This past week Armenia forwarded its latest draft proposal in the talks, and indicated it is willing to continue negotiating with Azerbaijan, and deputy Prime Ministers Mher Grigoryan and Shahin Mustafaev met “on the border” (Kazakh and Ijevan districts) for discussions on border delimitation.

Questions:

  • What does the latest Armenian draft proposal contain, and where do the negotiations stand currently?
  • How does last week’s border meeting fit in the vacuum of negotiations that we’ve seen since Granada?
  • Is the issue of so-called “enclaves” salient still?

Mediator Shuffle

Azerbaijan has now excluded both France and the US from acting as mediators. There have been more direct remarks from EU and US diplomats that point to Azerbaijan as the party that’s stalling, or not keeping up its end of the bargain, while Azerbaijan continues to ignore their advances. At a glance it would seem that this puts Azerbaijan in Russia’s camp.

Questions:

  • What is Azerbaijan’s current strategy? Is Aliyev actually interested in signing an agreement that Pashinyan would call a “peace deal”?
  • There have been some veiled threats on the part of the west (the US at least), for example with the US saying that they’re “developing a record” of what happened in Artsakh. At the same time the US warned Azerbaijan about agreeing to a railway through Iran that Azerbaijan and Turkey are calling “Plan B” for their Zangezur corridor. What do you make of this? Is this a diplomatic way of telling Aliyev that the US knows that he committed genocide in Artsakh, or is this pressure building on Azerbaijan to come back to the negotiations and agree to some kind of a deal with Armenia, as discussed in the west? Is the West’s influence on Azerbaijan waning?
  • What is Russia’s and Iran’s stance about all of this?

Crossroads of Risk

Azerbaijan has signed some agreements with Iran to connect through its territory with Nakhichevan, and Aliyev has said he has no further interest in his so-called “Zangezur corridor”. But Turkey continues to demand that Armenia open a Zangezur corridor.

Meanwhile Pashinyan’s team is telling everyone who’ll listen about his so-called “Crossroads of Peace” plan. It’s basically 2-4 roads crossing Armenia and connecting Azerbaijan with Turkey. Pashinyan has also complained that the plan is stalled because Aliyev is not interested in it.

Questions:

  • Is Pashinyan socializing and legitimizing Aliyev’s “corridor” through Armenia, to the people of Armenia. Is this a new and original idea, or is it old wine in a new bottle?
  • Can we believe that Aliyev is not interested in this corridor, or is this a bluff that puts the next move in Pashinyan’s court?
  • Turkey’s attention is currently focused on Gaza and Israel, with Erdogan at least in words backing the Palestinians and definitely not making friends with the US and irritating NATO. Is this the case, and how is it affecting its involvement in the South Caucasus?
  • Pashinyan keeps warning that the risk of military aggression by Azerbaijan remains high. What is the likelihood, or risk, at present?

Armenian Diplomacy in the West

Over the past week Ararat Mirzoyan was in Skopje, North Macedonia, for an OSCE meeting. He met with Anthony Blinken, Lavrov, Josep Borrell, and many FMs from the EU countries. He did not meet with Azerbaijan’s Jeyhun Bayramov, who was also attending.

Meanwhile, Armen Grigoryan is currently in Washington DC.

Questions:

  • What did Mirzoyan achieve in Skopje, and what is Grigoryan’s mission or goals in DC?
  • Is there an emerging strategy to Armenia’s diplomacy, and if so what is it?

Relations with Russia

The relations between Armenia and Russia remain icy. Pashinyan, Armen Grigoryan, and Alen Simonyan have recently skipped CSTO meetings, but there’s a combined CIS and EAEU summit coming up in St. Petersburg in December and Russia says they expect Pashinyan will attend.

Questions:

  • Do you think the customs problems in Lars are Russia’s way of telling Pashinyan that he better attend? And why do they want him to attend?
  • Armenia’s economy is deeply dependent on Russia, and if relations tank further then Pashinyan is putting Armenia at risk of some serious economic retaliation. Are we aware of anything that the west has committed to, to mitigate such a catastrophic outcome?
  • Is there any pathway to improving relations with Russia?

Topics from the Panelists

  • Benyamin: Armenian sattelite Hayasat-1 Launched
  • Hovik: More thoughts on the Armenian Satellite.

Wrap-up

We hope you found our Week in Review helpful. We invite your feedback and your suggestions, you can find us on most social media and podcast platforms. Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts.

Guests

Benyamin Poghosyan

Benyamin Poghosyan

Dr. Benyamin Poghosyan is a senior fellow at APRI Armenia, a Yerevan based think tank,and the Chairman of the Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies. He has served as the vice president for research and head of the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense Research University in Armenia. Dr. Poghosyan was a Distinguished Research Fellow at the US National Defense University College of International Security Affairs. He is a graduate from the US State Department Study of the US Institutes for Scholars 2012 Program on US National Security Policy Making. He holds a PhD in history and is a graduate from the 2006 Tavitian Program on International Relations at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Hosts

Hovik Manucharyan

Hovik Manucharyan

Hovik Manucharyan is an information security engineer who moved from Seattle to Armenia in 2022. He co-founded the ANN/Groong podcast in 2020 and has been a contributor to Groong News since the late 1990s.

Asbed Bedrossian

Asbed Bedrossian

Asbed is founder of the Armenian News Network Groong and co-founder of the ANN/Groong podcast.