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5/1/2024 Armenia/Azerbaijan (International Christian Concern) — Amid ongoing tensions after the fall of Artsakh in September 2023, the Armenian government agreed to cede territory to Azerbaijan along the border in an attempt to normalize relations.  

Official media from the Armenian government announced yesterday that “more than half of the planned works have been carried out: 35 border posts have been installed.” Azerbaijani government sources reported that the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken “extended his congratulations on the recent agreement regarding the border delimitation” and “reiterated the readiness of the U.S. to continue supporting the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.” 

On April 19, the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release stating that “the process of delimitation will be based on the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1991.” The Alma-Ata Declaration (or Protocols) of 1991 formally established the Commonwealth of Independent States, comprising 11 Eastern European and Central Asian states formerly part of the USSR. However, the Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said in an interview that the Azerbaijani government is “still reluctant to make concrete and strong reference to the Alma-Ata Declaration in the draft of the peace treaty.” 

During a meeting in Italy on April 19, the G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. addressed the South Caucasus by urging Armenia and Azerbaijan to remain “fully committed to the peace process,” calling on Azerbaijan to “fully comply with its obligations under international humanitarian law,” and reiterating “the importance of the commitment to the Alma Ata 1991 Declaration.” 

Protests erupted in Armenia, denouncing the territorial cession to Azerbaijan months after the Armenian government failed to defend its people and land during the Azerbaijani siege and conquest of Artsakh in September 2023. The ceded territory contains four villages in the Armenian Tavush Province, formerly part of the Azerbaijani Gazakh (Qazax) district before the first armed conflict over Artsakh in the late 1980s/early 1990s. A previous report from International Christian Concern (ICC) covered the details of the territorial disputes arising in early April over the border delimitation process between the two nations. 

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