Aliyev: Peace Treaty ‘Impossible’ with Armenia’s Current Constitution

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By Arshaluys Barseghyan and Aytan Farhadova

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has stated that it will be “simply impossible” to reach a peace deal if the Armenian constitution “remains unchanged.”

Aliyev stated on June 6 that the Armenian constitution’s basis, the Declaration of Independence, “contains territorial claims against Azerbaijan.”

Armenia’s Declaration of Independence, signed in August 1990, includes a joint decision by the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Karabakh Council to “reunify the Armenian SSR and the Mountainous Region of Karabakh.”

“From a young age, Azerbaijanis and Turks have been portrayed as enemies in their society. It is their society that has been poisoned by nationalists and war criminals,” said Aliyev, who previously stated that he expected guarantees from Yerevan against “Armenian revanchism.”

In response, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry stated that Yerevan does not have any territorial claims towards Azerbaijan or any of its neighbors, and stressed that amendments to the constitution are Armenia’s internal affairs.

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The Ministry also stated that the peace treaty draft stipulates that Armenia and Azerbaijan recognize each other’s territorial integrity, adding that Baku’s rhetoric “torpedoes the peace process.”

“There is also an agreed provision in the draft peace agreement that neither party may invoke its domestic legislation for not implementing its obligations under the peace agreement,” the Ministry stated, adding that Armenia was willing to work constructively and intensively to sign the peace agreement within the next month.

Aliyev’s statement came as Armenia and Azerbaijan began delimiting the northern part of their shared border, as leading officials claimed that relations between the two countries had warmed.

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan recently stated that there had been a “significant change in atmosphere’ between the two countries. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov also praised Armenia’s latest peace treaty draft, saying that the ‘number of issues that remained open has declined and positive dynamics are observed.”

‘Significant Obstacles’ in Both Constitutions

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Pashinyan sparked controversy after saying that Armenia needed a new constitution. At the time, observers speculated that this was a response to pressure from Azerbaijan.

On June 4, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan stated that amendments to the constitution were not part of the peace negotiations with Azerbaijan, despite both countries noting “significant problems and obstacles” to peace in each other’s constitutions.

The following day, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister stated that Azerbaijan’s constitution does not lay claim to neighboring territories.

‘Attempts to draw parallels in this matter are unacceptable. Unfortunately, we repeatedly see such tendencies. In some cases, when issues that are inconvenient for Armenia are raised in the negotiation process, attempts are made to artificially create a mirror effect, even if Azerbaijan has no similar analogues’, he said.

Tigran Grigoryan, a political analyst and the head of the Regional Center for Democracy and Security in Yerevan, told Civilnet that the border delimitation process had taken precedence over any potential amendments to the constitution over the past few months.

During border delimitation, Armenia returned control of four abandoned villages to Azerbaijan in a unilateral handover of territory. Pashinyan had earlier suggested that returning the villages to Azerbaijan could prevent war.

‘The Azerbaijanis presented an ultimatum to Armenia on that issue’, said Grigoryan. ‘In these two or three months, the Armenian authorities tried to disseminate their rhetoric and narratives around [delimitation]’.

‘Now, if there are no new developments in the demarcation issue, I think at some stage they [Armenian authorities] will start talking about the need to change the constitution, claiming that it is a threat to national security’.

On Thursday, Aliyev also stated that Armenia’s constitution laid territorial claims to Turkish territory.

In April, Pashinyan urged Armenians to discern the difference between “real” and “historical” Armenia, a reference to Western Armenia, current day eastern Turkey, which was inhabited by Armenians prior to the Ottoman Empire’s genocide of Armenians in the early 20th century.

He said that Armenians must accept modern Armenia within its current borders, suggesting that calling for the territory of ‘Historical Armenia’ harmed Armenia’s sovereignty and independence.

(This article originally appeared on OC-Media.org on June 7.)

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