YEREVAN — Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Monday accused Azerbaijan’s leadership of making misleading statements on his latest meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
Pashinyan at the same time stood by his largely positive assessment of the peace talks held in Vienna on Friday.
“I think that we have a new atmosphere, a new situation, new messages, new prospects and new understandings in the negotiations, and it is not clear why the Azerbaijani side should avoid or be afraid of accepting these facts,” he said in a live Facebook broadcast.
Pashinyan was specifically upset with Aliyev’s claim that “the format of negotiations remained unchanged” as a result of the Vienna summit. The Azerbaijani leader referred to Pashinyan’s regular calls for Nagorno-Karabakh’s direct involvement in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks which have been rejected by Baku.
“It is important that after the meeting there is no need to look for winners and losers. If we want to achieve a settlement of the problem, then this approach should be the logic of this stage of the negotiations, and of the negotiations as a whole. I think this is a new approach that we bring to the negotiation process,” Pashinyan said in the post.
“When the Azerbaijani side says ‘the important thing is that the negotiating format remains unchanged’ they mean to imply that they emerged victorious from these discussions,” complained Pashinyan. “This is first and foremost incorrect within the framework of the logic which we have agreed upon. Namely, not to look for winners and losers.”
Ever since he swept to power in May last year, Pashinyan has repeatedly said that he does not have a mandate to negotiate on behalf of Nagorno Karabakh’s leadership and that the latter should therefore become a full-fledged negotiating party.
He again claimed on Monday that this does not mean Yerevan is seeking changes to the negotiating format, arguing that the Karabakh Armenians were directly involved in the peace process in the 1990s. He said he and Aliyev discussed the matter at Vienna but failed to reach any agreements.
“Does this mean that the issue has been removed from [the agenda of] discussions?” the Armenian premier went on. “Of course not. It means that we are going to continue discussions on this topic.”
He also stated that no explanations had been received on all the issues that had been raised before the meeting in Vienna.
“They are very large-scale questions and during one discussion it was impossible to get answers. This means that they should be raised further, and the foreign ministers are instructed to continue these discussions, ”the premier said.
Pashinyan said these issues include the preparation of nations for peace. “It is in this context that we have reached certain agreements to implement a number of humanitarian activities. I want to note that in this aspect it is very important that the joint statement referred not only to the agreements reached in Dushanbe, but it also stated that the cease-fire should be maintained and strengthened, ”he said.