Armenia, Azerbaijan: Baku Cancels Talks With Yerevan, Threatens Nagorno-Karabakh
What Happened: Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev backed out of the Dec. 7 round of peace talks with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan after the latter insisted that French President Emmanuel Macron also be present, Reuters reported Nov. 28. This came as Azerbaijani officials accused Armenia of using the “Lachin corridor” to supply weapons to the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region and as Azerbaijani media began to speculate about the need for a new military offensive in the region.
Why It Matters: Pashinyan and Aliyev failed to meet in Brussels, Belgium, for peace talks in November, and the potential further delay to their December meeting is a clear sign that talks have stalled. The two sides’ failure to make greater progress in peace talks and the recent shift in Azerbaijani rhetoric suggest that Azerbaijan is increasingly motivated to use force to demonstrate its leverage, meaning the possibility of renewed violent episodes either on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border or in Nagorno-Karabakh is rising. A renewed uptick in violence would make a breakthrough in peace talks even more unlikely to occur by the end of this year.
Background: On Nov. 23, Pashinyan refused to sign Collective Security Treaty Organization documents related to providing assistance to Armenia. On Nov. 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, but the talks did not result in any breakthrough toward a peace agreement. On Oct. 12, Armenian Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan said Armenia and Azerbaijan were set to agree to a peace agreement by the end of the year that will include the issue of border delimitation, although he indicated that the treaty would not reference the status of Nagorno-Karabakh.