CrisisWatch Armenia

Unchanged Situation

Yerevan agreed to return four villages to Baku under delimitation deal, triggering protests; U.S. and EU pledged to bolster economic support to Armenia.   

Tensions flared along Armenia-Azerbaijan 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 Tavush region and Azerbaijan’s 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; protests 24 April spread across Armenia, including capital Yerevan. Meanwhile, Armenia 26 April confirmed reception of “9th edition” of draft peace treaty from Azerbaijan.

EU-U.S.-Armenia meeting resulted in economic pledges for Armenia. Trilateral 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. EU promised €270mn and U.S. committed $65mn in economic assistance, while both vowed to continue aiding Armenia’s integration of refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh. Ahead of meeting, U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken and European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen 3, 4 April respectively sought to reassure Azerbaijani 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”.

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