In remarks made in Parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, in his usual combative tone, further distanced himself and his government from Artsakh, saying that when Armenia agreed to negotiate with Azerbaijan based on the Madrid Principles in 2007 it recognized Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan.
Pashinyan was in parliament to present a progress report on his government’s so-called 2021-2026 Action Plan, with an emphasis on achievements in 2022.
The remarks about Artsakh were made in response to an opposition Armenia faction lawmaker’s question regarding the absence of advancing self-determination for the people of Artsakh from the 2022 report.
Pashinyan, in his usual tone of blaming the current situation on his predecessors, claimed that “negotiations legacy” that he inherited in 2018, when he came to power, already stipulated that Armenia had recognized Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan.
The Armenian prime minister’s remarks came on the same day that President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan demanded that Armenia announce that “Karabakh is Azerbaijan,” recalling Pashinyan’s infamous statement in Stepanakert that “Artsakh is Armenia.”
Pashinyan also said that Armenia has fully recognized Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and anticipated that Azerbaijan does the same by “recognizing the entire territory of the Armenian SSR as the Republic of Armenia.”
“The peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan would become realistic if the two countries recognize each other’s territorial integrity without ambiguities and traps and assume obligation to not make territorial claims against each other, now or ever,” Pashinyan told lawmakers.
Pashinyan reminded that such an agreement was reached with the Azerbaijani president during their meetings in Prague and Sochi on October 6 and October 31 in 2022 respectively.
Pashinyan said that Azerbaijan’s accusations that Armenia is refusing to fully recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity during the peace treaty talks are untrue. He said that Armenia itself offered to attach the maps of the Armenian and Azerbaijani SSRs – approved by the USSR – to the treaty as the basis of territorial integrity of the two countries.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said that peace is possible if Armenia itself will clearly acknowledge that it recognizes the 29,800 square kilometers area, more specifically the territory of the former Armenian SSR, as constituting the Republic of Armenia.
“Peace is possible if we, in all our international relations, clearly record not just for today but also for the future, that we recognize the Republic of Armenia as 29,800 square kilometers territory, more specifically the territory of the Armenian SSR, where we gained independence in 1991. And not only don’t we have any territorial claims towards any other country, but we will never have any,” Pashinyan said in parliament during debates of the 2022 report of the government action plan.
Pashinyan added that if this idea isn’t recorded and transformed into a social psychology of the society, no one will allow Armenia to develop, because no one will deal with the idea that Armenia is developing and getting stronger.
The prime minister’s message was advancing his so-called peace agenda, saying that regional stability and peace will contribute to a “consensus between the East and the West,” seemingly alluding that his agenda may bridge the current divide between the West and Russia.
Pashinyan said that he believed that a great opportunity exists to normalize relations between Armenia and Turkey, saying Yerevan’s response to the devastating earthquake in Turkey greatly increased those chances.