YEREVAN — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, assured during a press conference Tuesday that there has never been any discussion and there can be no question about handing over any village in the Tavush region to Azerbaijan. He made this statement in response to questions about Azerbaijan’s continued territorial claims against Armenia, specifically Azerbaijan’s demand to hand over four villages in the Tavush region. According to Nikol Pashinyan, there is a certain misunderstanding about this issue.

“The names of the villages being raised in the Azerbaijani press have never existed in the territory of the Republic of Armenia; moreover, not only during Soviet times but even afterward,” Pashinyan clarified.

The four former villages are inside Armenia’s northern Tavush province bordering western Azerbaijan. They are strategically located along one of the two main Armenian highways leading to Georgia as well as the pipeline supplying Russian natural gas to Armenia via Georgia.

Pashinyan declared that local sections of that transport and energy infrastructure “going beyond Armenia’s de jure territory” should be rerouted “so that they pass through Armenia’s de jure territory and so that we don’t have problems in that area.” He said he has already issued relevant instructions to Armenian government bodies.

Armenia will leave CSTO
Armenia will leave the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) if its lingering security concerns are not addressed by the Russian-led military alliance, Pashinyan said during the press conference.

Pashinyan said the CSTO must first and foremost clarify its “zone of responsibility” in Armenia and pledge to defend it against foreign aggression.

“If the CSTO answers these questions and its answer corresponds to our expectations, it will mean that the problems between Armenia and the CSTO have been solved,” he told the news conference. “If not, Armenia will leave the CSTO. When? I can’t tell.”

Pashinyan hopes for strong EU-Armenia relations in near future
The relationship between Armenia and the European Union is developing, it should have new manifestations and expressions, Pashinyan said.

According to the Prime Minister, ”The relations between Armenia and the European Union have never been so strong and deep. He expressed hope that several decisions will be made in the near future, which will reflect the strength of the relations.

“The next expression could be the deepening of our cooperation and relations in the field of security, as well as increasing the capacities of the EU civilian observation mission in Armenia. This includes the decision to extend the mandate of EU observers for another two years,” he said.

Armenia and the EU have a very broad agenda, the Prime Minister noted, adding that Armenia is ready to expand and deepen that agenda.

Dialogue with Turkish President is very important for Armenia
“Something very important is happening in our relations with Turkey … We are talking to each other and I believe that we have a dialog with the Turkish President. This dialog is very difficult. It is not easy for us, but it is very important that we have it,” Pashinyan said at the press conference.

According to him, it is rather strange when two countries that share a border are deprived of dialog. In Armenia, as the prime minister noted, Turkey is perceived through the prism of relations with Azerbaijan, but not as a neighboring country.

“Meanwhile, we should have an appropriate agenda in relations with Turkey, and we do. It is a pity that this agenda is not realized with due speed,” he emphasized.

Asked whether he sees a trend or an attempt by the West to involve Turkey in the Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement process, Pashinyan noted in particular that even when Armenian authorities hold one-on-one talks with Azerbaijan, Turkey’s presence is “felt.”

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