STEPANAKERT—Armenia’s newly-elected prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, said on Wednesday Armenians cannot discuss mutual concession until Azerbaijan recognizes Artsakh’s right to self-determination.
He made the statement at a press briefing in Artsakh where he traveled to mark the 26th anniversary of the liberation of Shushi and to meet with Artsakh President Bako Sahakian.
“We can speak about mutual concessions in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict resolution process only in the event that Azerbaijan gives a clear message that Baku is ready to recognize the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination,” Pashinyan said during a press briefing.
“I have already expressed my opinion on mutual concessions. There can be no talks about mutual concessions when the Azerbaijani leadership makes announcements about occupying Yerevan or Zangezur,” added Pashinyan who met reporters after meetings with Sahakian and Artsakh’s defense and military leaders.
On his first visit to Artsakh as Armenia’s prime minister, Pashinyan called on the international community to view Artsakh and the Karabakh conflict through its historical perspective and characterize it as a conflict that began with Azerbaijan’s direct threat to the Armenians’ “right to life, security, and identity.”
“This means Azerbaijan was a threat to the existence of the people of Artsakh—a real threat—and those threats were not demonstrated through slogans or speeches, but concrete actions—by waging a war against the civilian population,” said Pashinyan.
He also urged the international community to be more direct—and public—in its assessment of Azerbaijan’s continued military threats against Artsakh, saying that while that issue might have been expressed to official Baku through diplomatic channels, the time has come for international stakeholders to call out Azerbaijan for its military rhetoric.
Armenia’s prime minister also reiterated his position that Artsakh must become a full-fledged part of the peace talks and return to the negotiating table as a party to the conflict.
Pashinyan said that the government of Armenia will continue to prioritize Artsakh and further strengthen its relations with Stepanakert, which he said would give new impetus to the effort to garner international recognition for Artsakh.
“Based on today’s discussions we made sure that there will be effective cooperation on ensuring the security of Artsakh and Armenia. These issues will permanently be in the focus of the Armenian Government,” Pashinyan emphasized.