YEREVAN — The territorial integrity and sovereignty of Armenia, as well as the rights and security of the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, are the red lines of Yerevan in negotiations with Baku, according to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in an interview with Agence France-Presse.
“According to our position, the issue of the rights and security of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh should be resolved through dialogue, negotiations, and discussions with the participation of representatives from Nagorno-Karabakh. We call this the Baku-Stepanakert dialogue,” Pashinyan noted and continued: “However, given the imbalance of power between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, we believe that if we leave Stepanakert and Baku to face each other directly, Baku might have the opportunity to either ignore this agenda or play the role of a dictator instead of being a participant in the dialogue. That is why, in our opinion, this dialogue should take place within the framework of international mechanisms, with the international community present as witnesses.”
Nikol Pashinyan once again signaled that a humanitarian crisis is worsening in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The journalist asked if he believes in a lasting peace with Azerbaijan.
“If I didn’t believe in it, then it wouldn’t make sense to participate in the negotiation process at all. However, believing doesn’t guarantee that we will achieve a result because, of course, this depends not only on me but also on the position of the President of Azerbaijan,” the Armenian leader replied. He noted that the international situation, the humanitarian situation, various human factors, and political situations also play a role in this process.
According to him, the most significant obstacle to progress in the negotiations is Azerbaijan’s prolonged aggressive rhetoric, hate speech, acts of hatred against Armenians and everything Armenian, and the evident policy of revenge towards the Armenians, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, and the clear policy of ethnic cleansing.
At the same time, Yerevan is convinced that negotiations are the only way to solve the problem. “But, on the other hand, if the issues are not resolved through negotiations, then these negotiations can also be perceived by the public as simply a waste of time or simply creating the impression in the media that something is being done,” he added.
“In general, until a peace treaty is signed and this treaty is not ratified by the parliaments of both countries, war is, of course, very likely. And in general, in any place on Earth where there is a conflict situation that is not resolved within the framework of an agreement, there can be war anywhere and at any time, and this needs to be acknowledged,” the Prime Minister of Armenia said.
According to him, there are violations of the ceasefire on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan almost every day.
“It is evident that Russia did not meet Armenia’s expectations during or after the war. How do you justify close ties or trust in Russia?” the journalist asked Pashinyan.
The Armenian prime minister replied that the same question could be asked of any country: how do they justify good relations with any other country when human rights are violated in Nagorno-Karabakh, there is a humanitarian crisis, and ethnic cleansing is being prepared, and these countries do not respond adequately? Nikol Pashinyan stressed that even countries with which Armenia has good relations are not doing their best to overcome the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh for various reasons.
“One buys gas, the other buys oil, the third thinks about their banking system, the fourth has other problems, but, on the other hand, to say that they do nothing is also not true,” he added.
Today, Azerbaijan is creating a ghetto in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Prime Minister of Armenia stressed. “What is the reaction of the international community? In Russia, we are told: how do you justify your good relations with the West? Do you expect them to make some kind of hesitant statement that the Lachin corridor should be opened? Yes, the Lachin corridor should be open. […] Russia tells us: did you expect this from the West when you established such close relations with the European Union and other partners? Did you expect them to say once a week that “Lachin corridor should be, thank you, goodbye”? Just as we justify our relations with the West, we justify our relations with Russia. However, according to the logic of some Western circles, our relations with Russia are unjustified.