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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Armenia, Azerbaijan Initiate Border Demarcation Process


Wed 24 Apr 2024 | 10:38 AM
Israa Farhan

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced yesterday that reaching a peace agreement with Armenia is closer than ever before, as two teams from both countries began the process of border demarcation in hopes of ending decades of territorial disputes.

Teams from both countries erected a border marker the day before yesterday after officials agreed to demarcate a portion based on maps dating back to the Soviet era.

Aliyev, referring to the possibility of reaching a peace agreement, stated, "We are closer to that than ever before," adding, "We now have a common understanding of how a peace agreement should look; we just need to deal with the details." He continued, "The two parties need time; we both have the political will to do so."

Earlier, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan agreed to return four border villages that were part of Azerbaijan.

Aliyev confirmed that he agreed to a proposal from Kazakhstan to host a meeting of foreign ministers.

He downplayed the need for third-party intervention, stating, "What is happening now on our borders shows that when we are left alone, we can reach an agreement in the shortest time."

Experts from both countries erected the first border marker yesterday, according to two identical statements.

Protests erupted earlier in Armenia as demonstrators briefly blocked traffic at several points on the highway linking Armenia and Georgia.

Yerevan affirmed that it would not transfer "territories belonging to Armenian sovereignty" to its neighbor.

Armenian forces seized the four deserted areas in the 1990s, which will be returned to Azerbaijan—Lower Ashagybara, Baghanis Ayrum, Khiramlu, and Gyzylhajili—prompting their Azerbaijani ethnic residents to flee.

In turn, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan emphasized the need to resolve the border dispute "to avoid a new conflict."

Last Saturday, he stated that Russian guards deployed in the region since 1992 would be replaced, and border guards from Armenia and Azerbaijan would cooperate to guard the state borders themselves.

He added that border demarcation represents a "significant change," noting that the separation of the two countries by "border, not a contact line, is an indicator of peace."

Last autumn, Azerbaijani forces reclaimed the Nagorno-Karabakh region from Armenian separatists in a one-day operation, ending decades of continuous conflict in the area. However, demands for territory pose a continuous threat of further escalation.

Baku demands four additional villages located deeper within Armenian territories. It also calls for the establishment of a land corridor through Armenia to link the mainland with the Nakhchivan enclave, reaching Turkey.