Prime Minister Pashinyan addressing EU Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee in Brussels

YEREVAN (Arka.am) — Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke about future relations with Baku in an interview with EURACTIV.

“We are committed to a constructive dialogue aimed at establishing lasting peace,” he said. “To prepare the people of the region for a peaceful solution to the conflict, I have announced that the settlement should take into consideration the interests of all three parties; namely, Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan.”

Pashinyan said he was criticized by the Armenian public and media, since the president of Azerbaijan refused to do the same.

“Moreover, he repeatedly uses aggressive rhetoric that has a very negative impact on my efforts to prepare people for the peace and damages the mediation efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs,” Pashinyan said.

He pointed out the necessity of getting Nagorno-Karabakh involved in the negotiations, in a process that ultimately will determine the status of Nagorno-Karabakh and ensure the security guarantees for the people who live there.

Nikol Pashinyan said that two former presidents of Armenia were born, raised, and lived in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh).

“Unlike them, I do not represent Artsakh, the people living there did not participate in the elections in Armenia, and therefore, I do not have the mandate to represent the population of Artsakh in a peace process,” he said.

“I represent Armenia and am ready to engage in negotiations on behalf of Armenia. If Azerbaijan also states that the settlement of the conflict should include the interests of all parties involved, it would give a good opportunity to resume the negotiations based on mutual trust.”

Commenting on President Ilham Aliyev’s tweet that 2019 would “give a new impetus” to the NK conflict settlement process, the Armenian premier said: “It is positive if by “giving a new impetus” President Aliyev means recognition of the right of self-determination of people of Nagorno-Karabakh. If not, then it is simply another bold statement.”

Of course, he said, the Armenian side would like to give new content to the peace process and has already submitted its vision through the mediators to the Azerbaijani side.

“Peace is in the best interest of all countries of our region, and we are committed to exerting efforts to achieve a lasting and sustained peace,” Pashinyan said in his interview.

Karabakh conflict broke out in 1988 when Karabakh, mainly populated by Armenians, declared its independence from Azerbaijan.

On December 10, 1991, a few days after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a referendum took place in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the majority of the population (99.89%) voted for secession from Azerbaijan.

Afterwards, large-scale military operations began. As a result, Azerbaijan lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven regions adjacent to it.

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