Premier Pashinyan on May 22

Pashinyan Confirms Readiness to Accept Azeri Control of Karabakh, Enclave Leadership Reacts Furiously

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YEREVAN (Combined Sources) — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on May 22 gave the clearest indication yet that he has agreed to recognize Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh through a peace treaty currently discussed by Yerevan and Baku.

“If we and Azerbaijan correctly understand each other, Armenia recognizes Azerbaijan’s 86,600-square-kilometer territorial integrity, assuming that Azerbaijan recognizes Armenia’s 29,800-square-kilometer territory,” Pashinyan said, repeating statements made following his May 14 meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. .

“The 86,600 square kilometers include Nagorno-Karabakh,” he told a news conference. “But it must also be noted that we are saying the issue of the rights and security of Karabakh’s Armenians must be discussed in a Baku-Stepanakert format.”

Pashinyan again stressed the need for the “creation of international mechanisms” for such talks between the Azerbaijani government and Karabakh’s leadership. Yerevan, he explained, is specifically seeking international guarantees against “ethnic cleansing” in the Armenian-populated region which he said is planned by Baku.

While expressing readiness for dialogue with Baku, the authorities in Stepanakert have repeatedly rejected any settlement that would restore Azerbaijani control over Karabakh.

In a joint statement with Armenia’s leading opposition groups issued last week, the five political parties represented in the Karabakh parliament warned Pashinyan against formally recognizing Karabakh as a part of Azerbaijan. They said that such a deal would be “devoid of legal basis.”

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Despite this warning, Pashinyan made it clear that he hopes to sign the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty “as soon as possible.” He said that Yerevan presented Baku with fresh proposals regarding the remaining sticking points after marathon talks held by the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers outside Washington earlier in May.

“We are now waiting for their reaction,” added the Armenian premier. He did not disclose those proposals.

Pashinyan and Aliyev are scheduled to meet again in Moscow on Thursday. They will hold on June 1 another meeting in Moldova which will be attended by European Union chief Charles Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf ScholzRKarabakh’s leadership strongly condemned Pashinyan’s comments.

“Today’s statement by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in which he reaffirmed his readiness to incorporate Artsakh into Azerbaijan has caused great indignation and anger in the Republic of Artsakh,” read a statement unanimously approved by the Karabakh parliament during an emergency session.

“For us, any statement by Nikol Pashinyan ignoring the sovereignty of the Republic of Artsakh, the right of self-determination of our people and the fact of its realization and any document based on it are unacceptable and null and void,” it said.

The statement said that Pashinyan’s plans run counter to Armenia’s constitution and other legal acts as well as a 1991 referendum held in Karabakh.

“What rights, security and dialogue can we talk about when Azerbaijan has been illegally keeping Artsakh under complete blockade for 162 days?” countered by Artur Tovmasyan, the Karabakh parliament speaker, referring to Pashinyan asking for the enclave to directly negotiate with Azerbaijan.

Ashot Danielyan, another lawmaker allied to Arayik Harutyunyan, the Karabakh president, branded Pashinyan a “capitulator.”

Karabakh leaders have repeatedly criticized Pashinyan since he stopped invoking the Karabakh Armenians’ right to self-determination a year ago. The region’s main political factions charged in April that his current views on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict are “consistent with the position of official Baku.”

Adding his voice to those angry with Pashinyan’s statement was former Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) State Minister, Russian-Armenian billionaire Ruben Vardanyan. He said he cannot remain silent when “human values are being violated and all sanctities destroyed.”

“I don’t know how long you will remain the leader, Mr. Pashinyan, but what you say is very dangerous. You are trying to put us in the position of slaves and turn us into a worthless people, but you will not succeed,” said Vardanyan in a video message from Hakobavank.

Tens of thousands gathered in Stepanakert on November 1, 2022

“When we allow ourselves to say that we had thousands of defectors, without facts, when we say that Armenian women are not happy, we consider it normal to spit in a someone’s face, we allow an anti-church campaign to begin, when we can say that we have nothing to do with Artsakh, shake a finger from the podium of the National Assembly and say: ‘who are you to say anything to us?’ When you can understand that there will be thousands of victims, but the war will not be stopped, and this becomes the standard. We are betraying the motherland, our roots, values. That is the biggest danger.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s wife, Anna Hakobyan, had declared that there were 11,000 deserters during the 44-day war. The National Security Service did not confirm that number.

In a related story, Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan presented details from the Washington negotiations. Mirzoyan, during a press conference on May 22, said that some progress was made in the negotiations in Washington in the sense that it was possible to agree on two more articles of the draft peace treaty.

“I can say that during these conversations, the parties understood each other’s concerns, intentions and ideas very well. Apart from the two articles I mentioned, I think there is a possibility of agreement regarding the other articles as well. This is not only my assessment, I was assured by other parties as well.

“Of course, there are articles and topics where the positions of the parties are quite far from each other. These are the articles that deal with the most difficult issues. But there was also quite an effective discussion in this direction,” said Mirzoyan.

Work at the Lachin Corridor’s Azerbaijani checkpoint

He also reaffirmed Armenia’s commitment to establishing a long-lasting, stable and dignified peace in the South Caucasus.

“Armenia cannot take constructive steps alone,” said Mirzoyan.

(Stories from Azatutyun, Armenpress and PanArmenian.net contributed to this report.)

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