Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Monday all but confirmed that by agreeing to recognize Azerbaijan’s 86,600 square-kilometer territory, he was signaling his readiness for Azerbaijani control of Artsakh.
Armenia is ready to recognize Azerbaijan’s 86,600 square kilometers territorial integrity which includes Nagorno Karabakh, but the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh must be discussed through Baku-Stepanakert dialogue, Pashinyan said during a press conference on Monday.
He said it is important to create international guarantees for the direct talks between Stepanakert and Baku over the rights and security of Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh.
“We mean, for example, that the issue of the rights and security of Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh could get forgotten and Azerbaijan could continue its policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide against Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh through force,” Pashinyan added, stressing the need for international guarantees.
The renewed focus on Armenia and Azerbaijan recognizing each other’s territorial integrity sharpened when European Council President Charles Michel announced that during the May 14 talks he hosted in Brussels, Pashinyan and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan had affirmed their commitments to the mutual recognition and spelled out the square kilometers at the center of a peace treaty being discussed between the two countries.
The talks last week in Brussels followed four days of negotiations between the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers, Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov, mediated by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Mirzoyan and Bayramov were hosted by their Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Friday in Moscow.
Pashinyan sounded an optimistic note about the Washington talks saying that a new tenor of “understanding” emerged that allowed the sides to communicate more clearly and comprehend each other’s apprehensions and approaches.
“We hope [the Azerbaijani response] will reflect the discussions, agreements and the progress of understanding during the Washington talks. If Azerbaijan would convey its response this week and one week were to be enough for studying it, if we were to see that we find these proposals and approaches to be acceptable in terms of compromise logic, then why not? But so far we haven’t received their response,” Pashinyan explained.
Foreign Minister Mirzoyan presented a more tempered response to the so-called peace treaty, saying that while there were agreements on some elements, longer and more sincere discussion is needed on others, since divergent approaches on many issues still remain.
“I can say that during these conversations [talks with Azerbaijan], the parties understand each other’s concerns, intentions and ideas very well,” Mirzoyan told reporters on Monday. “I think there is a possibility of agreement regarding the other articles as well. This is not only my assessment, I was assured by other parties as well.”
“Of course, there are articles and topics where the positions of the parties are quite far from each other. These are the articles that deal with the most difficult issues. But there was also quite an effective discussion in this direction,” added Mirzoyan, who said that while Yerevan is commitment to peace, Armenia “cannot take constructive alone.”
During talks in Moscow on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that no peace agreement can be effective without the complete opening of transport links and delimitation of borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Mirzoyan emphasized on Monday that it was critical for Armenia to have certainty in the border delimitation and demarcation processes.
During his press conference Pashinyan said maps draws by the Soviet military’s general staff in 1975 should serve as the basis for delimitation talks with Azerbaijan.
He also said that reciprocal withdrawal of forces from the border using the said map would desire stability.
“I will emphasize that ensuring border security is an important part of the negotiations process. It is no secret that Azerbaijan continues to engage in a policy of military pressure in an attempt to gain more beneficial conditions in the talks through such military ultimatums,” Pashinyan said, adding that Baku’s continue military aggression is a violation of international obligations assumed by the sides, specifically during the October 31, 2022 meeting in Sochi, where the sides clearly agreed to not use force.
Pashinyan and Aliyev are scheduled to meet in Moscow on Thursday.