Artsakh Foreign Minister Davit Babayan discussed the possibility of direct negotiations between Artsakh and Azerbaijan.
In an interview with Armenpress, Babayan said that there is a clear format for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which was approved in 1994 during the OSCE summit in Budapest.
“The problem is that this format should be maintained, by which Artsakh is recognized as a party to both the negotiations and the conflict,” Babayan told Armenpress.
“Of course, we are ready for direct talks with Azerbaijan, but a comprehensive settlement of the conflict is necessary with the involvement of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, Azerbaijan, Artsakh and Armenia in that process. We can perceive direct negotiations differently, but when we talk about a political issue, then Azerbaijan must accept our subjectivity and Artsakh as a full party to the conflict, and only then we can negotiate as equal to equal,” the foreign minister added.
According to Babayan, Azerbaijan will do everything to avoid meeting with representatives of Artsakh and discussing the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Thus, he emphasized the need to seek the restoration of the full format established in 1994.
“There are contacts which are necessary,” Babayan told Armenpress. “For instance, if a shepherd crossed into their area, then some contacts, of course, together with Russian peacekeepers, are needed for his return—for the search of the relics of our fallen soldiers. In other words, contacts couldn’t be avoided, which, however, calling as negotiations around external political issues, is, of course, not right,” he added.
Babayan also discussed the latest Azerbaijani attack on Armenia and the issues on the agenda in the diplomatic front, given the security challenges.
According to Babayan, emphasis should be put on strengthening foreign policy, without which it would be impossible to ensure the security of Artsakh. “It is necessary to avoid adventurism,” said the foreign minister. “We have natural allies, brotherly countries. In general, Armenian people, like Jews, are one of those unique nations who are capable to have normal relations with many countries, even with those countries which have bad relations with one another. We have a Diaspora and are obliged to have good relations with all countries which have an Armenian community.”
“This is in our interests, which doesn’t mean, however, that one should be done at the expense of another,” Babayan said. “I consider it impermissible. If three million Armenians live in Russia, so why we should be anti-Russian? Especially when the future depends on it. If there are no Russian peacekeepers, there will be no Artsakh. But it doesn’t mean that we should become enemies with the West, because there are 2 million Armenians living in the United States”, he said adding that they are obliged to have good relations with their natural ally. “In general, we should study and respect every civilization, we should think of what we could take from there as an example that could be useful to us. I think this is a right approach.”