Regarding the Almaty meeting: “This can be considered a success…”

The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia are scheduled to meet on May 10 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, amidst ongoing negotiations over border demarcation and amid hopes for advancing peace talks. The meeting is crucial as it occurs against a backdrop of intense diplomatic efforts to solidify relations and resolve long-standing disputes between the two nations.

Although the Azerbaijani government has not disclosed the meeting’s agenda, the Armenian Foreign Ministry has indicated that discussions will focus on finalizing mutual commitments, as well as revitalizing regional transport infrastructure and trade routes. This dialogue is part of a broader attempt to reach a formal peace agreement, following years of mediated talks under the auspices of the European Union and Russia.

The talks now proceed directly between the two nations, marking a significant shift in the negotiation dynamics. According to Elman Nasirov, a member of Azerbaijan’s Milli Majlis Committee on International Relations, the direct format has facilitated substantial progress: “We are one step away from signing the peace treaty because many complex issues have already begun to be resolved without third-party involvement,” Nasirov told Turan news agency.

Kazakhstan’s role in the upcoming meeting is not as a mediator but as an organizer, reflecting a growing preference for bilateral negotiations. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s administration has explicitly rejected third-party mediation, viewing it as a diplomatic triumph.

The delimitation and demarcation of borders, based on the 1991 Almaty declaration, are also high on the agenda. These processes define the precise lines and markers between states, a crucial step toward reducing tensions and fostering cooperation.

Transport communication, essential for economic and social integration, is expected to dominate discussions in Almaty. Despite the absence of mediators, influences from external parties such as France remain a concern for some officials, including Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

Elkhan Shahinoglu, head of the Atlas Research Center, notes that while border discussions have seen tangible success, the text of the peace agreement itself is lagging, with negotiations ongoing. “Direct talks are crucial, as every mediator historically has had vested interests. Although we do not require an intermediary, a neutral venue like Kazakhstan is vital,” Shahinoglu explained to Radio Azadlig.

The political scientist also highlighted Russia’s diminishing role, as both nations have moved away from accepting Russian-drafted maps for border delimitation. This shift could represent a strategic victory for Azerbaijan and Armenia if they manage to finalize a peace agreement independently.

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