German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday expressed his country’s support for the right to self-determination of the people of Artsakh during a meeting with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who emphasized the need to deploy international monitors to the Lachin Corridor as it continues to remain blockaded by Azerbaijan.
During a joint press conference with Pashinyan, who is visiting Berlin, Scholz said that Germany is concerned about the unstable situation on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and the working humanitarian crisis in Artsakh.
For Germany, Scholz said, it is important to reach a peaceful settlement with an emphasis on the respect for the territorial integrity of both countries and the right to self-determination of the people of Artsakh, saying these “principles are equal.”
Scholz said Germany supports the mediation efforts of the President of the European Council Charles Michel and emphasized that his country has sent personnel as part of the EU civilian mission, which is also headed by a German federal police officer.
The German chancellor also referenced Pashinyan’s meeting with President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Munich last month, saying that such opportunities to exchange ideas is an encouraging step for the resolution of the conflict.
During his remarks, Pashinyan said sending an international fact-finding mission to the Lachin Corridor and Nagorno-Karabakh would be important for the international community in terms of getting more comprehensive information about the situation there.
“We think it could be very important to send an international fact-finding mission to the Lachin Corridor and Nagorno-Karabakh for the international community to get a more comprehensive understanding of the situation,” Pashinyan said.
He also referenced the February 22 ruling by the International Court of Justice, which obligated Azerbaijan to take steps to ensure “unimpeded movement” along the Lachin Corridor.
“We call on our international partners to take active steps to ensure the immediate implementation of the court’s decision by Azerbaijan,” said Pashinyan. “The position voiced by Germany, a democratic country that protects human rights and universal values, is important and will support Armenia’s efforts toward stability and peace in the South Caucasus.”
One of the key topics of the discussions between Pashinyan and Scholz was the security situation in the South Caucasus and the challenges facing Armenia.
“After the signing of the declaration on November 9, 2020, Armenia spared no effort to achieve the normalization of relations with Azerbaijan and ensure the rights and security of the people of Nagorno Karabakh,” said Pashinyan. “Unfortunately, instead of participating in negotiations in good faith, the Azerbaijani side is continuing its non-constructive policy, is threatening Armenia’s democracy, undermining our government’s efforts to establish peace, stability and security in the South Caucasus.”
“Today, the most urgent problem is that since December 12, 2022 the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and the outside world, the Lachin Corridor, has been closed by Azerbaijan, as a result of which 120,000 residents have found themselves in a blockade,” said Pashinyan, who emphasized Azerbaijan’s actions are a gross violation of the obligations assumed through the tripartite declaration of November 9, 2020.
“This is a part of the large-scale and systematic policy of Azerbaijan aimed at the ethnic cleansing of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Pashinyan said.
In thanking Germany for its participation in the European Union mission to Armenia, Pashinyan expressed confidence that the effort will play a significant role in establishing peace and security in the region.
The Armenian leader said that an agreement regulating the presence of the EU civil mission in Armenia will be signed in the near future.
“I am very proud of the EU mission in Armenia, it will make a great contribution. We’ll develop that mission and see,” Scholz emphasized.
The German chancellor said that during the meeting with Pashinyan, they exchanged ideas regarding the deepening of bilateral relations, adding that Germany will continue to assist Armenia in continuing reforms and advancing economic relations.