Yerevan /Mediamax/. Senior fellow at Carnegie Europe, expert on Caucasus Thomas de Waal believes that both Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan wanted the removal of Ruben Vardanyan from the position of State Minister of Artsakh.
“Both leaders found common cause in wanting to see the removal of the well-connected Russian-Armenian businessman Ruben Vardanyan from a top position in Karabakh. Vardanyan was dismissed by the Karabakh’s de facto president on February 23, 2023. Several other things need to happen before the road can re-open - Russia will also have its say - but it now looks a few steps closer. If that happens, Pashinyan and Aliyev can resume the EU-sponsored talks that were suspended in December,” de Waal writes in “Armenia’s Year of Insecurity” article.
At the same time he notes that Armenia-Azerbaijan peace agreement will still be hard to achieve.
“The future of Karabakh is still contested and the Armenian side is highly suspicious of Azerbaijani intentions,” the expert says.
“Pashinyan is open about his unease with Armenia’s military and economic reliance on Russia. He publicly questions the utility of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization despite rumblings of dissatisfaction from Moscow and menacing talk from Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko. Pashinyan has reached out to Western partners repeatedly and has now received a European Union monitoring mission on Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan with a two-year mandate, incurring the displeasure of the Russian Foreign Ministry in the process,” de Waal writes.