Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that his country is ready to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan if Baku guarantees the security of its ethnic Armenian population.
In mid-March, Azerbaijan submitted a series of framework proposals for the peace agreement. A key aspect of the proposal is the mutual recognition of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azeri territory.
Nagorno-Karabakh has been a source of conflict between the two Caucasian neighbors since the years before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and between Armenians and Azeris Turks for more than a century.
The RIA Novosti agency, which is controlled by the Russian government, quoted Pashinyan in a press conference today as saying, “An area of 86,600 square kilometers of Azerbaijani territory includes Nagorno-Karabakh. If we understand each other correctly, Armenia recognizes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within the mentioned borders, and the territorial integrity of Armenia on an area of 29,800 square kilometers.”
The leader demanded that the rights of the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh be guaranteed. He said the issue should be discussed between the two countries.
Azerbaijan took control of Armenian-held areas in and around the mountainous enclave in September 2020, and has since periodically closed the only access route linking Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, on which the enclave relies for financial and military support.
Pashinyan expressed hope for an early peace agreement with Azerbaijan, although he admitted that he did not consider the signing of this document a fait accompli at a meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Moscow on May 25.
“Armenia remains committed to the peace agenda in the region. We hope that in the near future we will reach an agreement on the text of the peace treaty and be able to sign it.”
Earlier, Aliyev said that the peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia is inevitable. After meeting with his Lithuanian counterpart, Gitanas Nauseda, in Vilnius, he said, “We believe that signing a peace treaty is inevitable and we are trying to make constructive efforts to achieve this goal. Naturally, this peace treaty must adopt international rules and principles.”
Armenian citizens unhappy?
Opposition parties staged massive anti-government protests over early suggestions that Pashinyan might hand over the Nagorno-Karabakh region to Azerbaijan. In early May, former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan demanded Pashinyan’s resignation.