Artsakh Leaders Admit Differences with Yerevan

The Artsakh National Assembly building in Stepanakert

STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)—The political leaderships of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh have some differences on how to resolve the long-running conflict with Azerbaijan, a senior official in Stepanakert acknowledged on Wednesday.

“I find it natural that there are certain differences between the positions adopted by the Republic of Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR),” said Karen Mirzoyan, the NKR foreign minister.

“I can assure you that we have the same opinion on our aim. But naturally each side prefers a certain path to achieving that common aim,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (

Mirzoyan referred to the Karabakh Armenians’ and the Armenian government’s differing reactions to the latest statements by the U.S., Russian and French mediators reaffirming the key elements of the conflict’s resolution favored by them. Those call for Armenian withdrawal from Azerbaijani districts surrounding Karabakh which would be followed by a referendum on the Armenian-populated territory’s status.

Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian reiterated last week that this formula is largely acceptable to Armenia. In 2011, President Serzh Sarkisian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev came close to cutting a peace deal based on it.

The Karabakh Armenian leadership’s reaction to the mediators’ calls and, in particular, territorial concessions to Azerbaijan sought by them was less positive. Bako Sahakian, the NKR president, told the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group in Stepanakert last weekend that Karabakh’s “return to the past both in terms of status and borders is impossible.”

The mediators insisted on such a settlement in a joint statement issued on May 12. James Warlick, the chief U.S. negotiator, separately stated earlier this month that “the occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh should be returned to Azerbaijani control.”

Mirzoyan dismissed suggestions that the Karabakh Armenians are facing growing pressure from the mediators. “I see no pressure on the Karabakh side,” he said. “We are only talking about developments in a normal negotiation process.”

“Obviously, both the parties and the co-chairs have to express their views, and I think that using the word pressure here is not appropriate,” added Mirzoyan.


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  1. bigmoustache said:

    whos even listening to Yerevan? any deal on Artsakh has to be negotiated by ARTSAKH!! not the corrupt RPA and Yerevan.
    look at the map of Armenia and Artsakh. only a FOOL would give away Kelbajar and endanger both Armenia and Artsakh.

  2. GB said:

    The “oily” mentality of OSCE Minsk Group is too dangerous for Artsakhi Statehood!

  3. Tony said:

    It’s a big mistake just to hear the wishes of the 3 ambassadors that says leave the 7 regions and then let’s put a referendum for the status of Artsakh. How about before returning the regions to the dictator of Baku?

    Do you think that Alieve will honor his promises?

    If he gets the 7 regions, who’s going to stop him from using the heavy weapons on Artsakh’s people?
    The 3 ambassadors then will only wish a peace deal between the warring nations; who knows, the war will go on for years to come. How about the victims of another Genocide against the peaceful Armenians by the above Azerbaijani dictator?

  4. Sokimag said:

    I don’t see how any Armenian can agree to give the territories surrounded by Artsakh. It’s unacceptable. Giving away those territories mean being vulnerable to Azerbaijan attacks because those territories act as a buffer zone in case war starts again. Seeing how anti-armenian Azerbaijan is, there is no way we can afford to give an inch of land to Azerbaijan. Anyway, it is Artsakh’s Armenian who will decide, not corrupt armenian government.

    The referendum thing doesn’t make any sense. Artsakh’s Armenians already did the referendum before, so there is no way we will do it again. Artsakh will remain under armenian control forever.

    The corrupt armenian government is guilty of treason, because it agrees to give back Artsakh’s surrounding territories back to Azerbaijan. There has to be uprisings in Armenia protesting this awful attitude of treason from the armenian government.

    • Gurgen said:

      What are you smoking? The government of Armenia is run by Artsakhtis and has been for years. If not we would have lost not only Artsakh but also Armenia by now. Our president and defense minister both Artsakhtis. Don’t be fooled by the politics they are playing no one is going to give any land to anyone and don’t be so childish and critical of your own country all the time – you and your fellow commentators on this website, especially the one that calls himself “Armenian”

      • GB said:

        Gurgen, I think guy named “Armenian” over dosing never mind smoking!

  5. Armenian said:

    Some concessions need to be made for peace, stability and prosperity. We should get Karabagh proper, as doing that would have realized the initial goal of the conflict back in 1988, which is basically the miatsum of Karabagh into Armenia. After all, the surrounding districts were intended to be used as bargaining chips in the event of peace negotiations anyway. This “concede nothing” attitude could potentially be very disastrous in the long run, even though we don’t see the short-term effects of it right now.

    The truth is, we cant afford to act as a superpower nation like Russia, China or the US would, because this isolation is hurting us politically and economically more than it is anyone else. If we keep going down this path, we’ll lose both Karabagh entirely to the Azeris and Armenia entirely to the Russians. We will incur a loss, obviously, but so will the Azeris. Not only that, but Karabagh has been used against Armenia on several occasions by Russia, and has deprived it from being able to open itself up to the world and making it an attractive place for investment. Giving up the surrounding districts with very specific demands must be something that is taken into consideration otherwise this path of mass immigration (depletion of Armenia) and increasing isolation is going lead to the end of Armenia and the Armenian nation in about 60 or 70 years.

    Ideally, we’d get to keep all of Karabagh, but because the oligarchs have weakened Armenia to the point of completely irrelevance, we don’t have much muscle to flex and we have the odds stacked against us. Our leadership was completely unable to look into the long-term, and we’re paying for it now and will pay for it with even greater expenses (like loss of statehood) if we go down this path.

    Both countries will lose something: us the surrounding districts, and the Azeris thinking that they’re losing something that is “theirs” (but isn’t and never was), but both could eventually profit from long-term peace and stability with certain preconditions, and both societies could develop with the threat of war out of the equation.

    • Armenian said:

      Nevermind this– there can be no civil or peaceful negotiations based on trust with a barbarian like Aliyev. Maybe if a democracy oriented authority came to power in Baku, maybe, but not this guy or his kin.

  6. GeorgeMardig said:

    Thes days politicians are bought and sold like potatoes, Follow the money,