Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who in the wake of the ongoing almost seven-week-long Artsakh blockade seems more concerned about his nebulous “peace agenda,” on Thursday urged “restraint” and called for the deployment of an international fact-finding mission to Artsakh and the Lachin corridor.
“Understandably, all of us are dealing emotionally with the Lachin corridor closure and the humanitarian crisis. But I must, once again, underscore the need for restraint around this situation and not use statement or actions by representatives of state authorities that contradict the peace agenda,” Pashinyan said in an apparent affront to Artsakh authorities who have been critical of his statements regarding an end to the blockade.
“We continue to be consistent in our efforts to advance the peace agenda and no provocation should deviate us from this agenda,” added Pashinyan, who made the remarks during the weekly cabinet meeting.
Pashinyan also lashed out at Azerbaijan, saying that Baku’s goal in continuing the blockade is not only to force Artsakh Armenians from their homes, but also to disrupt the peace negotiations in an effort to instigate a new war in the region.
The prime minister also accused Azerbaijan of continuously trying to mislead the international community and insist that the Lachin corridor is not closed and the gas and power supply to Nagorno Karabakh are not suspended.
“Obviously Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh are saying the opposite,” Pashinyan said. “I believe the best way to de-jure resolve this contradiction is by sending an international fact-finding mission to Nagorno Karabakh and the Lachin Corridor.”
He reiterated that the Armenian government must continue to be guided by the principle that there are no other options than a peaceful resolution to the conflict, regardless of the difficulties and challenges that the pursuit of this agenda might pose.
Pashinyan said that Azerbaijan wants to break the Artsakh Armenians’ will to live in their homeland.
“We have information that Baku wants to continue the economic and psychological pressure in Nagorno Karabakh to a culminating point, after which it will opens Lachin corridor for a few days in anticipation that Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh will leave their homes en masse,” said Pashinyan, who said that Azerbaijan will continue to open and close the corridor until the very last Armenian leaves Artsakh.
“This is certainly an explicit policy of ethnic cleansing,” said Pashinyan.