Pashinyan, Aliyev Signal Readiness to Meet

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (right) with Azerbaijan's Ilham Aliyev during an earlier summit meeting on Karabakh
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (right) with Azerbaijan's Ilham Aliyev during an earlier summit meeting on Karabakh

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (right) with Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev during an earlier summit meeting on Karabakh

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev on Monday signaled their readiness to meet in Moscow to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement with mediation from Russia.

Pashinyan and Aliyev responded to the same question posed to them by Russia’s state-run TASS news agency, saying that they were to meet to find ways for a solution.

“We have always said that Nagorno Karabakh conflict must be solved through exclusively peaceful means. Unfortunately, Azerbaijan does not want it,” Pashinyan told TASS. “Our position is that the Nagorno Karabakh conflict must be settled peacefully. And I am ready to make all necessary efforts for achieving that result, including to go, meet and talk. But we all must understand that the solution must be based on mutual concessions, not the capitulation of one of the sides, but mutual concessions.”

“By the way, if the opposing side is not ready for mutual concessions, we are ready to fight to the end for the rights of our people of Nagorno Karabakh—the rights of our compatriots,” added Pashinyan. “This is the position of the the government of Armenia, people of Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora. And I think this is a fair and constructive position.’’

“We are always ready to meet, in Moscow or any other city, to put an end to this confrontation and find ways for a settlement,’’Aliyev told TASS.

Pashinyan went on to address during the TASS interview the issue of Turkey-backed mercenaries fighting alongside Azerbaijani forces, saying Russia has a legitimate right to carry out anti-terrorist campaign in Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone, since the militants of Syrian terrorist groups fighting against Nagorno Karabakh from the Azerbaijani side are a direct threat for Russia.

“Following the outbreak of the Nagorno Karbakah war and the reports that those mercenaries participate in the war against Nagorno Karabakh, there have been reports, including from Arabic media, that some of those groups have been crushed in the battlefield and have spread in different directions. For me it’s clear that those Syrian militants, those who survived just head to Russia, because I think they consider Russia an enemy like Nagorno Karabakh or Armenia.  The issue is how this process will continue? Will Russia wait for all those elements to move to Russia and carry out an anti-terrorist campaign there? I don’t know. Maybe the Russian government or the special services are thinking of the possibility of initiating an anti-terrorist campaign just in the hotbed,’’ added Pashinyan, who suggested that such a campaign could be carried out in Karabakh.

“Russia conducted anti-terrorism campaigns in Syria, which is quite far from Russia, because the actions of the Syrian militants and terrorists were a direct threat to the national security of Russia. Now, Russian experts say that they [the terrorists] are just 80 kilometers away from the Russian border. Of course, I cannot assess the veracity of those assessments. This is totally another situation. And I think Russia has a legitimate right and grounds to react to this situation,’’ added Pashinyan.

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