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.”