Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, along with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on Saturday on the margins of the Munich Security Conference.
During the meeting the process of finalizing a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan was discussed, according to a press statement from Pashinyan’s office. The unblocking of transport routes in the region, as well as the delimitation and demarcation of borders were also discussed, based on agreements in reached in Prague last year.
When Pashinyan and Aliyev met in the Czech capital in October they pledged to continue the border opening process and announced that they will respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. That meeting was held weeks after Azerbaijan invaded Armenia on September 13.
Pashinyan reportedly discussed Azerbaijan’s illegal blockade of the Lachin Corridor and the humanitarian, environmental and energy crisis that has resulted from the closure of the road on December 12.
The sides have emphasized the importance to continue the so-called peace process.
“We believe that Armenia and Azerbaijan have a genuinely historic opportunity to secure an enduring peace after more than 30 years of conflict,” Blinken said.
“I want to thank President Aliyev, Prime Minister Pashinyan for being here today. We believe that Armenia and Azerbaijan have a genuinely historic opportunity to secure an enduring peace after more than 30 years of conflict. The parties themselves have renewed their focus on a peace process, including through direct conversation as well as with the EU and ourselves. The United States is committed to doing anything we can to support these efforts, whether it’s directly with our friends, whether it’s in a trilateral format such as this, or with other international partners,” Blinken said in a statement prior to the meeting.
The State Department said in a statement on Saturday that Blinken “took note of the significant progress the two sides have made over the last several months towards a peace agreement and the offer of EU President Charles Michel to host the parties in Brussels.”
“During their discussion, the Secretary underscored the need for free and open commercial and private transit through the Lachin corridor. He also called on the parties to open other transportation routes,” the State Department added.
Meanwhile, Aliyev and his chief adviser Hikmet Hajiyev were met with Azerbaijani protesters outside of the Bayerischer Hof hotel, where the Munich Conference is taking place.
Azerbaijani refugees living in Germany staged the protest demanding that Aliyev be punished for his oppressive policies against his own people.
Calling Aliyev a “dictator,” the protesters called on the Azerbaijani president to not sacrifice democracy for the sake of oil and gas profits, calling for the release of political prisoners in the county.