YEREVAN — Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Artsakh’s President Bako Sahakyan chaired a joint session of the Security Councils of the two countries. Issues discussed included Karabakh peace process, military issues and a presidential election that will be held in Artsakh next spring.

RA President Armen Sarkissian, Armenia and Artsakh National Assembly Speakers Ararat Mirzoyan and Ashot Ghulyan were also in attendance.

Prime Minister Pashinyan spoke of “modest” results achieved in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks this year emphasizing that, “Armenia will continue to act as a guarantor of Artsakh’s comprehensive security.”

While noting a noticeable decrease in ceasefire violations in the conflict zone since 2018, he said the peace process has produced “modest” results so far and blamed Azerbaijan for that. He again complained that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has not reciprocated his repeated statements to the effect that a peaceful settlement must be acceptable to the peoples of Armenia, Karabakh and Azerbaijan.

More importantly, Pashinyan accused Baku of misinterpreting a framework peace accord drafted by the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and known as the Madrid Principles. He singled out its provisions relating to Karabakh’s future status.

“The Minsk Group co-chairs’ interpretation of this matter is substantially different from Azerbaijan’s, which is certainly cause for optimism about the proposed negotiating base,” he said.

Pashinyan said in this regard that Baku will only prolong the status quo if it seeks to “make the realization of the principle of people’s self-determination non-use of force relative.” He also warned against attempts to end the conflict by force, saying that that they would have “disastrous consequences for Azerbaijan in the first instance.”

For his part, Sahakyan referred to Armenia and Karabakh as “two inseparable parts of one homeland.”

“Armenia is the main guarantor of Artsakh’s security and normal development. And one of the most important imperatives we face is the continued deepening and expansion of inter-Armenian unity.” Sahakyan declared.

“I want to once again emphasize that for us there can be no return to the past in terms of both the status and borders,” said the Karabakh leader, who will not be seeking another term in office in the election due in March or April.

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