Armenia, Azerbaijan leaders argue in front of Putin during Eurasian summit
Moscow, May 25 (EFE).- The presidents of Armenia, Nikol Pashinian, and Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, rowed during a Eurasian Economic Union summit at the Kremlin on Thursday, forcing Russian president Vladimir Putin to intervene.
The Russian president stepped in to stop the heated exchange as tensions between the leaders of the two neighboring nations boiled over in front of the other stunned leaders invited to the summit.
Pashinian accused Baku of having territorial claims to Armenia, which Aliyev, who was attending the summit for the first time, flatly denied.
Pashinian also insisted that Yerevan’s priority was to protect the rights of ethnic Armenians who live in Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory that the countries have fought over since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Aliyev also denied that the Azerbaijanis were blocking the Lachin corridor, the only link between the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave and Armenia.
Putin urged both sides not to become bogged down in terminology and technical issues, and to focus instead on improving their relations.
Recently, Yerevan and Baku recognized the territorial integrity of their respective countries, although border tensions continue.
On Monday Pashinian admitted that Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan’s territory, in line with the international community.
During negotiations with their foreign ministers held in Moscow on Friday, Armenia and Azerbaijan managed to align on a number of points for a future peace treaty.
Border demarcation, an issue that has been unresolved since independence from the USSR in 1991, and the safety of Armenians living in Karabakh – are two of the most sensitive points in the talks.
Two weeks ago Pashinian and Aliyev also met in Brussels, where they agreed to resume meetings on pending border issues and opening of railway connections.
In early May, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted the “tangible progress” in the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace talks and expressed confidence that they would soon conclude a final agreement to resolve the conflict. EFE