YEREVAN — Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan brushed off today opposition’s accusations that he is preparing to surrender Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan as he spoke at a cabinet meeting one day after visiting Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Artsakh is not a thing that can be handed over or nor, Artsakh, first of all, are the people who live there.” Pashinyan said

“If we were to surrender Artsakh (Karabakh) we would not have spent tens of billions of drams to ensure the return of Artsakh residents to their homes after the 44-day war,” he said at a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan.

“We have been making unprecedented investments in Artsakh, because keeping Artsakh means keeping the people of Artsakh in Artsakh, keeping Armenia means keeping the people of Armenia here and have the migrants return,” PM Pashinyan said, stressing that “this is impossible without peace.”

“Our strategy in the short, medium and long terms is as follows: to ensure a situation or solution whereby the people of Artsakh will continue to live in Artsakh … Any solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict or any state of affairs in Nagorno-Karabakh that does not ensure and guarantee these conditions is unacceptable to us,” he said.

He ruled out the signing of any document without broad public discussion, including with all layers of the Artsakh public.

“This is an ironclad guarantee that the fate of Artsakh cannot be determined behind the people’s back,” the Prime Minister stated.

“Rest assured that we will not allow that to happen,” he said.

“At the moment, all the documents that are the subject of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan are in the public domain. These are the 5 principles transmitted to us by Azerbaijan and our reaction to them is well known. All the information has been made public. We will continue doing so up to the limits allowed by diplomatic ethics,” Pashinyan said.

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