Russia hosts talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia

RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 27 Nov 2021 by Alex Teddy

On November 26 the leaders of the two Caucasian countries met with Putin in Sochi. The aim of the talks is to allay tensions over the territorial dispute. Exchanges of fire between the two nations led to the deaths of 13 soldiers earlier in November 2021. Armenia accused the Azerbaijanis of incursions into land that even Azerbaijan recognizes as Armenian.

Putin reminded the two leaders that their countries and Russia were all united with each other for centuries. However, they were united with Russia voluntarily. Putin wants them to forge closer links with each other and Russia.

The talks were pleasing for Russia even if nothing came from them. The optics are good for Russia's image as arbiter and pacificator of the region. Russian primacy in the region is underscored.

Aliyev and Pashinyan have not met since January 2021. Pashinyan is in no position to fight again after his army was hammered by Azerbaijan in 2020. Azerbaijan outnumbers Armenia 4:1. Financially Azerbaijan outnumbers Armenia more like 10:1. Armenia is heavily dependent on Russian largesse. By contrast oil-rich Azerbaijan has an extremely cordial relationship with its brother nation: Turkey.

On December 15 Aliyev and Pashinyan plan to meet in Brussels with EU leaders.

Azerbaijan is calling for the border to be clarified. This was supposedly done in 2020 but Azerbaijan is now denying that. Armenia is willing to discuss the issue. That is because Yerevan is in no position to refuse.

There are 2,000 Russian peacekeepers in between Armenia and Azerbaijan. That is not sufficient to prevent fighting. They are due to withdraw in 2025. When they do, Azerbaijan could invade...

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