CrisisWatch Azerbaijan

Unchanged Situation

Yerevan agreed to return four villages to Baku under delimitation deal, President Aliyev raised concerns about EU-U.S.-Armenia meeting, and France recalled its ambassador.

Tensions flared along Azerbaijan-Armenia border early month. Azerbaijan and Armenia traded accusations over series of border incidents in early April. Azerbaijan 2 April said Armenian troops fired at troop positions in its Nakhichevan exclave, which Armenia denied. Azerbaijan 5 April claimed Armenia was strengthening fortifications and concentrating its forces; Armenia 6 April denied allegation, EU Monitoring Mission in Armenia same day reported no unusual military movements. Shooting 10 April wounded one Azerbaijani soldier; Armenia 12 April acknowledged its soldiers violated rules that caused incident and expressed “regret”. 

Yerevan and Baku struck border delimitation deal, triggering protests in Armenia. Armenia and Azerbaijan 19 April announced agreement to restore section of Soviet-era border between Armenia’s Tavush region and Qazakh district, meaning Armenia will return four villages to Azerbaijan that came under its control in 1990s. EU, U.S. and UN all welcomed agreement. Residents in Tavush region 19 April began protesting decision amid fears it will deprive them of access to farmlands (see Armenia). Meanwhile, Armenia 26 April confirmed reception of “9th edition” of draft peace treaty from Azerbaijan.

Baku raised concerns about EU-U.S.-Armenia trilateral meeting. Meeting between Armenia, U.S. and EU 5 April took place in Belgian capital Brussels, culminating in promises of economic support for Armenia’s reform initiatives (see Armenia). Ahead of meeting, U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken and European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen 3, 4 April respectively sought to reassure President Aliyev that talks would focus on economic development; Aliyev voiced concerns about inclusivity and military assistance to Armenia. Russia 5 April described meeting as Western attempt to embroil “South Caucasus into geopolitical confrontations”.

In other important developmentsAuthorities 22 April placed opposition politician Gubad Ibadoglu, detained in July 2023, under house arrest. Azerbaijan and Russia 17 April announced early withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from former Nagorno-Karabakh (see Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict). France 16 April recalled its ambassador to Azerbaijan for consultations amid rising bilateral tensions.

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Zaur Shiriyev

Analyst, South Caucasus
Zaur Shiriyev

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