YEREVAN — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated on Thursday that Azerbaijan is seeking to sign the kind of peace deal with Armenia that would not prevent it from laying claim to Armenian territory.

Pashinyan pointed to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s comments made in an interview with the Euronews TV channel broadcast earlier this week.

“While claiming that Azerbaijan has no territorial claims to Armenia, the Azerbaijani president says that the borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan have not been determined,” he said at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan. “The borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan were decided in 1991 by the Almaty Declaration and that was reaffirmed on October 6, 2022 as a result of the quadrilateral meeting in Prague during which the Almaty Declaration was adopted as the basis for the delimitation and demarcation of the borders between the two countries.”

“It looks like Azerbaijan’s plan is as follows: to sign a peace treaty with clauses that leave room for disputing the Armenian-Azerbaijani border fixed by the Almaty Declaration and to make territorial claims to Armenia later on, during the delimitation and demarcation process,” added Pashinyan.

Deputy Foreign Minister Vahan Kostanyan likewise complained last week that Azerbaijan remains reluctant to recognize Armenia’s borders. This is one of the main obstacles to the signing of the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty currently discussed by the two sides, Kostanyan told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

This is why, he said, Yerevan insists that 1975 Soviet military maps be used for delimiting the long Armenian-Azerbaijani border. Baku has rejected the proposed mechanism in delimitation talks held so far.

The most recent round of those talks took place on July 12 three days before the European Union chief, Charles Michel, hosted yet another meeting of Pashinyan and Aliyev in Brussels. Michel said after the meeting that the two leaders reaffirmed their earlier “understanding that Armenia’s territory covers 29,800 square kilometers and Azerbaijan’s 86,600 square kilometers.” Aliyev has still not publicly confirmed that.

“We expect Azerbaijan to publicly reaffirm that understanding,” Pashinyan said on Thursday. He insisted that despite Aliyev’s stance the two South Caucasus states “do have a chance to achieve long-term, stable and lasting peace.”

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