President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko revealed that in 2016 he and President Vladimir Putin of Russia proposed to then Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian to “surrender five regions” to Azerbaijan, saying Sarkisian refused.
“Putin and I suggested surrendering five regions to Azerbaijan,” said Lukashenko during a briefing with Russian press on Friday. The Belarus leader said that the proposal was made to Sarkisian during the 2016 CSTO Summit that was held in Yerevan.
According to Lukashenko, Sarkisian said at the time that “if he were to surrender those territories, Azerbaijan would cut off all roads and would occupy [all of] Karabakh.”
“Putin and I promised,” Lukashenko said “we would deploy our troops and we would not allow that to happen. He rejected the offer.”
Lukashenko also revealed details about a gas pipeline that he said Baku wanted to go through Armenia and Georgia. The Belarus leader claimed that he held discussions with former president Sarkisian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev regarding this matter.
“They [Azerbaijan] were building a pipeline. I think it was a gas pipeline that was bypassing Armenia,” Lukashenko said, claiming that Aliyev had asked him to speak to Sarkisian, who was president at the time, in order to get permission for the gas pipeline to pass through Armenia.
“I visited Armenia to speak to Serzh Sarkisian and convey the message. He rejected it,” Lukashenko said.
The Balarus president complained to reporters that the Russian press, in general, did not cover issues related to his country objectively.
He cited an example from last week’s CIS and EEU summits in St. Petersburg, where he spoke to reporters and told them about a discussion at the EEU Summit that “got so heated there that we had to apologize to one another.”
Lukashenko said that the Russian press depicted the incident in a manner that suggested he had to apologize to Putin for started the conversation.
“I would find it below my dignity to apologize for it. I have apologized to Nikol [Pashinyan] for attacking him for various reasons. Putin apologized to everyone. It was a mess. Nazarbayev began apologizing. And this really happened, we were apologizing to one another at this session,” said Lukashenko who blamed the Russian press for spreading false information.
Presumably, Lukashenko’s apologized to Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for asserting that the next CSTO Secretary-General should be from Belarus, after Yuri Khachaturov resigned due to a criminal case pending against him in Armenia.