BERLIN—Prime Minister’s Nikol Pashinyan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday discussed a wide range of issues, among them advancing Armenia’s relations with the European Union and a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Hosting Pashinyan at the German Chancellery, Merkel praised Pashinyan for taking “brave steps” toward the resolution of the Karabakh conflict and urged Azerbaijan to follow suit.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Pashinyan, Merkel said she was confident that the Armenian leader would continue his efforts, but urged for a final resolution to the conflict.
“As you may know, I made an announcement in parliament months ago which I consider very important. I have said that any option for the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict should be acceptable for the people of Armenia, people of Karabakh and people of Azerbaijan,” Pashinyan told Merkel.
“I had hoped that a similar announcement would come from the Azerbaijani side, but no Azerbaijani official—even with in a muted voice—has said that any resolution to Karabakh issue can be acceptable for the people of Armenia and Karabakh,” added Pashinyan who explained that Armenia does not have great hopes of moving forward on the matter, without reciprocal announcements from official Baku.
While reiterating Armenia’s commitment to an exclusively peaceful resolution to the conflict, Pashinyan also pointed out that he can only negotiate on behalf of Armenia but not on behalf of the people of Artsakh, explaining that they have their own government that can negotiate on their behalf.
“I, as the Prime Minister of Armenia, can negotiate on behalf of the Republic of Armenia, but I cannot negotiate on behalf of Karabakh for the simple reason that the people of Nagorno-Karabakh do not participate in our elections and have not voted for me. They have their own president, parliament, government and only representatives chosen by the people of Karabakh can speak on behalf of Karabakh,” Pashinyan told Merkel.
Pashinyan also praised Germany-Armenia relations, pointing to Merkel’s recent visit to Armenia and his current talks in Berlin as a sign of a strong alliance where both sides view regional stability, peace and security as a priority.
He also said that Armenia was positioned to advance reforms that could facilitate further economic and political cooperation only with Germany but also the European Union.
Merkel observed that the people of Armenia have placed their faith on Pashinyan, which, she said, was critical in allowing Armenia to advance the reforms that are necessary to ensure democratic norms in Armenia.
“The ball is the Government of Armenia’s court,” said Pashinyan. “The recent visit of [E.U.] Commissioner Johannes Hahn clearly points to the increase of E.U. assistance to Armenia.” Pashinyan was referring to a Hahn’s pledge last week of more funding to Armenia for advancing democratic reforms.
“We already support Armenia,” said Merkel. “The EU has already expressed its support through Commissioner Hahn. Armenia, as an independent country, decides on its own with which country to work. And we already have an agreement. I am talking about the agreement with the EU, by which Armenia can develop relations with Germany and the EU.”
Pashinyan added that Armenia has working relations with both the E.U. and the Russia-backed Eurasian Economic Union.
“We must be able to effectively implement our reform agenda, with the confidence that we will receive assistance both from our EU partners and EAEU partners,” said Pashinyan.