Following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan sat down for an interview with the Moscow-based Kommersant newspaper, the highlights of which are presented below in English as reported by the Public Radio of Armenia.
The Armenian-Russian relations are on an unprecedented high level, Pashinayn said in an interview with Kommersant following his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He voiced hope that the leaders of the two countries would pay reciprocal official visits soon. Pashinyan said Vladimir Putin has accepted his invitation to visit Armenia by the end of the year or early next year.
Asked about Putin’s congratulation on Armenian former President Robert Kocharyan’s birthday, Pashinyan said “Vladimir Vladimirovich highly values human ties, personal relations. There is no need in drawing huge political conclusions from it.”
He stressed that in Armenia criminal cases are being initiated on facts of violation of the Criminal Code, and not against concrete individuals.
CSTO and Azerbaijan
Speaking about Armenia’s decision to recall Yuri Khachaturov from the post of CSTO Secretary General, Nikol Pashinyan said: “The CSTO is our organization, as well. It’s as dear to Armenia as to other member states.” He noted that Armenia still has at least 18 months to head the organization, and the next Secretary General will also represent Armenia.
“We have agreed to discuss the question with all colleagues and try to reach consensus. When we reach agreement on the issue, we’ll announce it,” he said.
As for the possibility of Azerbaijan being granted an observer status in the Eurasian Economic Union and joining the CSTO, the Prime Minister said: “Perhaps, it’s clear to everyone that such a decision cannot be adopted without Armenia’s consent. Everyone knows about the current state relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Every day we hear threats from Azerbaijan. I think Armenia’s position on the issue stems from this.”
“If Azerbaijan wishes to reach that goal, it should first think of solving the Karabakh conflict,” he added.
“Azerbaijan hopes it can manage to reach worsening of relations between Armenia and Russia and start provocative actions against that background. However, everyone sees that there are no global political problems in the Armenian-Russian relations and there cannot be any Therefore, Azerbaijan has failed in this scenario,” he said.
“The problem is that Azerbaijan’s President fears that the democratic processes in Armenia can move to Azerbaijan and is thus willing to divert attention from domestic problems by aggravating the situation on the line of contact with Nagorno Karabakh through provocations,” the Prime Minister added.
Speaking about the impasse in the Karabakh conflict resolution process, Nikol Pashinyan said “the process is stalled because of Azerbaijan’s bellicose rhetoric, the constant threats of war.”
“There cannot be constructive negotiations under such conditions. We are ready to work on that. As for the format, I am the Prime Minister of Armenia and am ready participate in the talks on behalf of the Republic of Armenia, but I cannot speak on behalf of Nagorno Karabakh. People of Nagorno Karabakh do not participate in the process of formation of Armenian authorities. They have their own government, their President. Karabakh should be represented by a legitimate representative, who has the mandate to represent that nation. This does not mean we are refusing from negotiations; we are ready for talks at any moment, but Karabakh should be represented by a representative of Karabakh,” he stated.
“If we are speaking about a real solution to the conflict, we should try to do that through the right format. I mean the participation of Nagorno Karabakh.” He stated.
He said the issue cannot be solved without a compromise, but the problem is that every day Azerbaijan threatens with war and lays territorial claims on Armenia.
“If we start speaking about compromises in an atmosphere of threats, someone can see it as a sign of weakness. We’ll never allow that. If Azerbaijan thinks it can talk to us from the position of force, it’s mistaken,” he said.