Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday described the mutual agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan to recognize each other’s territorial integrity as “an important step for establishing stability and peace in the region and finalizing the text of the peace treaty between the two countries.”
He was referencing an agreement reached on Sunday with President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan during talks in Brussels hosted by the European Council President Charles Michel, who in a statement said that Armenia had agreed to recognize Azerbaijan’s 86,600 square kilometer territory, which includes Artsakh.
Speaking at his cabinet meeting Thursday, Pashinyan said the he and Aliyev in October of last year had voiced their commitment to the UN Charter and the 1991 Almaty Declaration, stressing that they recognize each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty based on these documents, and affirmed that this will be the basis for the work of the border delimitation commissions.
“Basically we took another step on May 14. And as it was mentioned in the statement by the President of the European Council after the May 14 meeting, we noted that Azerbaijan recognizes Armenia’s 29,900 square kilometers territorial integrity and Armenia recognizes Azerbaijan’s 86,600 square kilometers territorial integrity,” Pashinyan reiterated.
“I must note that I find this to be an important step for establishing stability and peace in the region, and also in terms of finalizing the text of the peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan and border delimitation. But, of course, the next step must be identifying and agreeing upon specific aspects that have legal bearing and significance for delimitation,” Pashinyan explained.
Without once mentioning that by recognizing Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity his government had essentially ignored Artsakh’s right to self-determination, Pashinyan claimed that Michel had highlighted the importance of Baku-Stepanakert dialogue regarding rights and security of the Armenians on Nagorno-Karabakh, whom the EU leader had called “Armenians living in the former Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous oblast.”
Pashinyan said that this is a process which is significant for real and comprehensive normalization of relations with Azerbaijan and establishment of lasting peace in the region.
The prime minister also said given Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression, as well as the agreements reached in Brussels, it has become more urgent for the “reciprocal withdrawal of military forces on the border line between Armenia and Azerbaijan.”
The need for not only Baku, which has invaded Armenia, but also for Yerevan to withdraw their forces from the border was first articulated this week by the EU’s envoy to Armenia.
Pashinyan added that the illegal blockade of the Lachin Corridor is also an expression of Azerbaijan’s policy of escalation, which once again underscores the legitimate necessity for an international presence in Nagorno Karabakh and Lachin Corridor. Pashinyan said that Armenia is discussing this issue with all international partners.