Official Azerbaijan is insisting that it has raised concerns about Armenia’s Constitution at the onset of talks, as official Baku said that Armenia must end its disregard toward Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity through its laws and Constitution.
Azerbaijan made the statement when it rejected a proposal from Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who during a speech on Armenian Armed Forces Day on Sunday, called for a “nonaggression pact” between the two countries.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aykhan Hajizadeh accused Pashinyan of diverting the focus from the peace treaty and normalization of relations between the two governments.
“Despite the fact that from the very beginning of the discussion on the draft agreement, Azerbaijan has called on Armenia to put an end to the encroachments on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, which are reflected in the [Armenia’s] Constitution, various laws and decisions, in the applications addressed to various international courts after the 44-day war, in official international organizations, Armenia has not yet taken any practical steps in this direction,” Hajizadeh said in a statement issued Monday in response to Pashinyan’s remarks.
“It is known that over the past 30 years, Armenia has grossly violated the international treaties recognizing our territorial integrity and sovereignty, carried out aggression against Azerbaijan, during the occupation of our territories, it hid most of its military equipment from international control mechanisms, illegally deploying them on the territory of our country,” Hajizadeh added.
The Azerbaijani diplomat described the assurances that Yerevan is serious about the peace process as political speculation. Hajizade pointed to a statement made by Pashinyan on Sunday regarding the purchase of weapons and the expansion of the military industrial complex.
“Such biased statements hinder the further development and progress of the region based on the principles of international law,” said the statement, asserting that Azerbaijan will continue its steadfast efforts for peace and expects Armenia to take adequate steps not by word, but by deed.
Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Vahan Kostanyan attempted to counter Hajiyev’s statements on Tuesday, saying that the Constitution is an internal and domestic issue for Armenia and other countries should not encroach on that right.
“Constitutional changes are our internal problem, and it is the sovereign right of each state, and I think it is pointless to try to find parallels here,” Kostanyan told Armenia’s Public Television, but did not address whether Azerbaijan had insisted on a change to Armenia’s Constitution at the onset of the peace negotiations, which have been ongoing for several years.
The issue of amending — or reforming — Armenia’s Constitution has gained more momentum ever since Pashinyan called for a new Constitution earlier this month, saying that the new document must reflect the current geopolitical realities.
The preamble of the current Constitution includes references to Armenia’s Declaration of Independence, which calls for the unification of Artsakh with Armenia. In August, Pashinyan chose the anniversary of the declaration to voice his discontent with the document.
All this has raised more accusations from opposition forces, which have accused Pashinyan of kowtowing to Baku when calling for a new Constitution.