Pashinyan ready to recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity

Pashinyan delivers a speech about Armenia’s foreign policy at the National Assembly (RA Prime Minister, April 13)

Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan said that he is prepared to “lower the bar” regarding the status of Artsakh in negotiations on a peace agreement with Azerbaijan. 

During a one-hour speech to the Armenian National Assembly on April 13, Pashinyan said that Armenia faces pressure from the international community to slightly lower its claims to Artsakh. 

“Today the international community clearly tells us that to be the only country in the world that on a bilateral level does not recognize the territorial integrity of an ally of Turkey, Azerbaijan, is a great danger not only for Artsakh but also for Armenia. Today, the international community again tells us to lower the bar a bit regarding the question of the status of Artsakh, and you will ensure a great international consolidation around Armenia and Artsakh. Otherwise, the international community says, do not rely on us, not because we do not want to help you, but because we cannot help you,” he said.

Pashinyan reiterated that Armenia is prepared to recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. He did not specify whether Artsakh would be included within the borders of Azerbaijan.

“Status in the current situation is not a goal, but rather a means to guarantee the security and rights of the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh,” he said. “We have said that Armenia has never had territorial claims on Azerbaijan and the Artsakh issue is not a matter of territory but rather a matter of rights. Therefore, we state that for Armenia security guarantees for the Armenians of Artsakh, the guarantee of their rights and freedoms and clarification of the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh are of fundamental importance.” 

During an April 6 summit hosted by European Council President Charles Michel in Brussels, Pashinyan and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev agreed to prepare for negotiations on a bilateral peace agreement. The leaders also agreed to launch a joint border commission to demarcate and delimit the Armenia-Azerbaijan border by the end of April. 

On March 14, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a list of five principles that it had submitted to its Armenian counterpart several days earlier. The principles included mutual recognition of each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual affirmation of the absence of territorial claims to each other and a legally binding obligation not to make such claims in the future, refraining from threatening each other’s security, delimitation and demarcation of the border and unblocking of communication and transport links. 

In response, the Armenian Foreign Ministry announced that it had applied to the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to “organize negotiations on the signing of a peace agreement” between the two countries. 

However, relations with the Minsk Group co-chairs, which include the United States, France and Russia, have been strained due to the war in Ukraine, according to Pashinyan. Therefore, Pashinyan said during his speech on Wednesday that Armenia is prepared to launch bilateral talks, which “in no way prohibits the involvement of the co-chairs in the process,” in order to sign a peace agreement as soon as possible. 

The opposition parliamentary factions have been boycotting the National Assembly this week to protest the outcome of Pashinyan’s meeting with Aliyev, which they state will lead to unacceptable concessions to Azerbaijan. 

Armenia Alliance deputy Seyran Ohanyan announced during a parliamentary session on Tuesday that the opposition faction would boycott this week’s parliamentary sittings and discussions. 

“The recent developments confirm concerns that everything goes according to the Azeri-Turkish agenda. With the so-called peace plan, we prepare our people for new concessions, defeat and humiliation,” Ohanyan said.

Instead of attending National Assembly sittings, the opposition deputies would visit Artsakh and Armenia’s border provinces, Ohanyan said, then placed the flag of Artsakh on the podium. 

I Have Honor Alliance deputy Hayk Mamijanyan then announced that his opposition faction would join the Armenia Alliance in the boycott. 

All of the opposition parliamentarians, who had also brought Artsakh flags to the National Assembly, then rose and exited the chamber. 

The decision to visit Artsakh followed an April 11 interview by Civil Contract Party deputy and parliamentary speaker Alen Simonyan with Azatutyun, during which he stated that he would not visit Artsakh.

“I do not go, so that it does not become an opportunity for a provocation [by Azerbaijan],” he said

Simonyan lambasted the opposition factions for their decision to boycott the National Assembly after they departed from the chamber.

“If the opposition will not work in parliament, why does it receive a salary, why does it not resign?” Simonyan asked

Civil Contract Party deputy Hayk Konjoryan also criticized the opposition, stating that their actions can lead to “new provocations” by Azerbaijan. 

“The opposition left the chamber and departed for Artsakh, to weave new intrigues, to undertake new provocations against Armenia and Artsakh. You are ready to sacrifice Armenia and Artsakh, for the sake of your madness to seize power,” Konjoryan said

Upon arriving at the checkpoint along the Lachin corridor to enter Artsakh, the opposition deputies were barred by the Russian peacekeeping forces guarding the border from crossing. Armenian politicians have not previously been prohibited from entering Artsakh by Russian peacekeepers. 

Armenia Alliance deputy and chair of the ARF Supreme Body of Armenia Ishkhan Saghatelyan blamed the incident on Pashinyan, accusing him of collaborating with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev to prevent their visit. 

“Today another criminal arrangement between Nikol Pashinyan and Ilham Aliyev has been revealed. They very quickly and simultaneously responded to the announcement by the parliamentary opposition deputies that we are going to Artsakh and delivered the names of the politicians going to Artsakh to the checkpoint, demanding that we not be permitted to enter Artsakh,” Saghatelyan said

The Armenian Foreign Ministry expressed its concern that the Russian peacekeepers did not allow the group to enter Artsakh. The Foreign Ministry said that the action contradicts the trilateral ceasefire agreement ending the 2020 Artsakh War, which “envisages the unimpeded connection of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia through the Lachin corridor.” 

“All parties to the statement must strictly adhere to the latter’s letter and spirit, as well as fulfill its obligations,” the statement from the Foreign Ministry reads.

The Armenia Alliance and I Have Honor Alliance organized a rally in Yerevan attended by thousands of people ahead of the trilateral summit in Brussels last week to warn Pashinyan against ceding Artsakh to Azerbaijan. 

During the rally, representatives of the ARF placed the flag of Artsakh in France Square. 

The Artsakh flag has become a centerpiece of protests by the opposition parliamentary factions in the past weeks. 

Some analysts have criticized the use of the Artsakh flag as a protest symbol as a distraction from the grave issues facing the Armenian population of Artsakh. 

(Photo: National Assembly member Christine Vardanyan)

Prominent Artsakh analyst Tatul Hakobyan called the “war” over flags waged by Armenian politicians a “childish, frivolous and ridiculous struggle” in an online column.

“Today, when Armenia and Artsakh face a hellish choice (due to our adventurous foreign policy, but primarily as a consequence of the 44-day war), instead of offering solutions based on national interests and values, political forces are fighting over symbols and proving their lack of political agendas,” Hakobyan wrote.

Pashinyan addresses a half-empty National Assembly (RA Prime Minister, April 13)
Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is a staff writer for the Armenian Weekly. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hetq and the Daily Californian. She is pursuing master’s degrees in journalism and Near Eastern Studies at New York University. A human rights journalist and feminist poet, Lillian's first poetry collection Journey to Tatev was released with Girls on Key Press in spring of 2021.
Lillian Avedian

@LillianAvedian

Graduate student @GloJo_NYU and @nyukevo. Staff writer @armenianweekly. Editorial intern @DAWN_Journal.
@LeezaYeretzian I'm so sorry, Leeza. This type of community pressure regarding issues that should be entirely personal is unacceptable. - 4 days ago

24 Comments

  1. Dangerous comments by a failed leaders. Our lack of choices, as he states it , is driven by his disastrous diplomatic and military policies. When he he elected in 2021, it was a choice between the corrupt past and a failed present. Hardly a choice…the Armenian people did not give him a mandate to surrender. Now he blames the lack of support from the world. An honorable and patriotic move would be to resign and allow Armenia some dignity.

    • Correction! The Armenian people gave Pashinian a mandate despite loosing Artsakh war. There were several more decent and qualified candidates than the present PM, but people re-elected him. That is a mandate in my dictionary. Corruption is in the head and all over the body. No more boasting that we are better than everybody else and that we are the first Christian country, whitewashing years of bickering and back stabbing that diverted our eyes from the eight ball. When I visited Armenia in 2008 there was a demonstration everyday of the six day visit I had in and around the opera square, instead of buckling down and building their nation. I thought there were more political parties and news papers than people, speaking facetiously. People were more preoccupied by the wealth of others and how ill-begotten they were than putting the effort to make their own wealth thus contributing to the future of their own country. Pashinian used that characteristic of the people and amplified their ire to bring him to power, and he went after the wealth of others, alas the people who elected him enjoyed non of the loot. It is time to own our failures and start building a nation rather than singing the glories of a nation that once was. You have true and enviable strength when others sing your glories, not you.

  2. Why is he so interested in what the international community has to say. They abandoned us a long time ago. They are not interested in Armenia. They just write books and when we are wiped out a 100 years later the just West may call it a Genocide or it may not. If I had two choices I would rather have a corrupt Armenia where its citizens are secure. This man looked at the West and when Putin visited Armenia he was so arrogant that he decided not to welcome him at the airport. He is not a politician. However, he has no problem sitting with the Turkish representative. What is there to discuss with Turkey. After he has signed Artsakh away what guarantees does he have that Armenia will be safe? He needs to step down. Lets wake up. As a people we do not have real leaders.

    • Not only that, but the international community does not consistently upload international law. So Armenia should also flout that law, violate it as Azerbaijan did. Then let the international community try to resolve the issue ‘legally.’

      Even in international law and geopolitics the adage is true that “possession is 99% of the law.” So we need to arm — and very, very quickly — and take back all provinces.

      And then, after that, Nakhichevan. But how do you do that with an incompetent parade of clowns and corrupt scum over the past 30 years (including the billionaires who claim to be helping Armenians and Armenian solidarity)?

      Armenian citizens need to take back their country….

  3. Great point Robert! When will Armenia stand up on our
    seasoned ,experienced and wise four thousands year old legs
    and do what is in our interest. The world excuses it’s absence.
    BTW , if Pashinyan “lowers the bar” any further , it would be ground level. We have 120,000 plus if our
    People, a legacy of heritage. We have no right to abdicate. We have every right and responsibility to defend it.

  4. Talk is cheap, only a handful of countries are helping Armenia, and the kind of help they are supplying are mostly humanitarian, war needs money, weapons, soldiers, unity, determination, and this goes on, people should remember khrimian hayrigs paper ladle, 30 years waisted for nothing and we still keep wasting our time in stupidities.

  5. The Armenian prime minister is not a politician and not a historian that is why he doesn’t know how to defend the Armenian s rights and the land in Artsakh. He has never read the history of Armenia to know those lands belong to Armenians.
    More to that, Pashinian makes silently a decision when meeting alief, and gives a false speech in the Armenian’s Parlement something else.
    Armenian around the world do not know who is Palestinian and which Muslim country he belongs to. He is considered anti-Armenian pm.
    Staline one of the ex-presidents of Russia one day because of an unknown matter decided to announce that crime against the Armenian nation. To Armenian’s surprise, Mr. Puttin keeps silent and does not deliver the reality of what had happened by the Russian ex-president.
    Which countries are the dominant ones, Muslim countries that surrounded Armenia or some other?
    This news is a piece of very sad news for all Armenians around the world.
    The Armenian people who are the only Christian country in that area stayed without political protection from the United States and European Parlement.

  6. “the international community says, do not rely on us, not because we do not want to help you, but because we cannot help you,” I’d like to know why can’t they help us?

    • I think there are a couple of reasons, among many, why these double-talking international charlatans claim they want to help but apparently can not while they have no problem acting as Ukraine’s spokespersons and supplying them with military assistance in billions of dollars against Russia their primary NATO adversary:

      1. The pseudo-Turkish artificial Azerbaijan and its criminal collaborator terrorist Turkey, among many others, are the two primary and traditional enemies of our nation. International community’s multi-billion dollar energy companies are heavily invested in the former and the latter is the only Muslim Turkish terrorist NATO member state in the world and one of their own. It is against their national interests to help us by going against there two terrorist states. Asking them to help would be much like asking the fox to watch over the hen house.

      2. One of the enemy’s most valuable allies today, the hypocritical and morally-bankrupt state of Israel, also a very close ally of this very same international community, is heavily reliant on Caspian energy imports and in return it supplies to the enemy deadly weapons in billions of dollars to kill Armenians. Also, the enemy’s artificial territory in the south shares border with another one of their arch enemy’s territory, the Islamic Republic of Iran, which Israelis use to conduct surveillance on Iran with a possible future plan of attack to take out their nuclear facilities. They have already conducted several attacks from there on Iran killing several of their nuclear scientists. They are unwilling to help us and risk this relationship against their common Iranian enemy.

      What we could have done but failed to do:

      1. We won the Artsakh Liberation War thirty years ago but failed to bring the war to its intended conclusion. That is to say, we failed to force the enemy into capitulation at its weakest and reuniting liberated territories with Armenia and populating them with their indigenous Armenian populations.

      2. We conducted a failed foreign policy to advance our legitimate cause by reminding this so-called international community how these territories were stolen from the Armenians a century ago and held hostage by the artificially invented enemy through use of force, intimidation, racist policies, massacres and depopulation of the native Armenians.

      3. The enemy falsely, and with active diplomatic help from terrorist Turkey, promoted and advanced its fabricated “territorial integrity” fairy tale by blackmailing and bribing the powers to be with petrodollars and energy reserves while our incompetent and short-sighted leaders focused on the right to self-determination when Artsakh had never been part of the artificial enemy state and that it had changed hands illegally and only within USSR which ceased to exist and came to an end thirty years ago. Interestingly enough, the same two-faced international community defended self-determination for Kosovo in the Balkans paving the way for its cessation and independence from Serbia while taking a complete opposite stand and siding with enemy’s falsified “territorial integrity” against self-determination for the indigenous Armenians and their legitimate cause.

    • They were reluctant before but now with the war in Ukraine they will definitely not help. Azerbajian can supply gas and oil to Europe and because of this they will not support us. What we have to do instead of arguing among ourselves is to arm ourselves so that we can negotiate from a position of strength and if need be fight for the independence of our country.

    • West ready to Sell us to Turks just like in 1915 and 2020 because of we re russian ally and with good relation Iran which is totally opposite to western politics and interest.

  7. Disgusting. Pashinyan should resign. He is a very weak Leader, who has gone out of his way to appease the Turks and Azeris. Russia is more on our side thane he is, and that does not say much.
    Michel of EU is a hope, but Pashinyan is destroying that avenue as well. Even Nevrov , Prime Minister of Russia talked about importance of Artsakh Armenians, re Minsk Group, which includes Russia, US, and France. Pashinyan MUST go.

    • I do not trust the West.
      We saw that they left Georgia in 2008.
      They are now baiting Ukraine to weaken Russia. They support Ukraine, but at what cost ???
      Ukraine was destroyed …
      Do not forget that the Tatars (Azeris) have oil and gas, something that Westerners love very much.
      See the list of foreign suppliers of Azerbaijani weapons: Besides the United States, you also see the name of France.
      Russia is safer.

  8. Back in the early ’20s, Stalin’s political adviser returned to, Tbilisi, Georgia, from Yerevan, to consult with his boss, Stalin, and said to him, ” The Armenians don’t have the political mindset to govern their own country”. I rest my case.

  9. Let no one say they did not know this about Nikol and his team. Nikol was one of the top ring leaders during the 2008 Western funded Color Revolution attempt in Armenia. Nikol’s anti-Artsakh and anti-Russia sentiments were well known going back to the early 2000s. Most of Nikol’s “officials” were on the payroll of Western and/or Turkish interests. Yet, he is the most beloved leader post-Soviet Armenia has had both in the homeland and the Diaspora. Armenians “elected” Nikol not once but twice, the second time coming after the historic humiliation and defeat in Artsakh. All Armenians worldwide should therefore “rejoice” in Armenia’s “people’s choice”. In a nutshell, Nikol is the by-product of 30 years of “independence”, “democracy”, “westernization” and the resulting societal and cultural decay.

    Some of us were warning against all this for many years. We were met by scorn and ridicule. Now enjoy the fruits of your “progress”!

    At this point in history, the only hope real Armenians have regarding Artsakh is its absorption into the Russian Federation. And I also hope to see President Putin and the valiant Russian army eventually do to all of the south Caucasus what they are currently doing to Ukraine.

    • “Most of Nikol’s “officials” were on the payroll of Western and/or Turkish interests.” – I’m going to need to hear some sources on that.

    • @Owen

      There are no serious and real sources on that. It is just Russian Propaganda. In fact, Pashinyan is everything Russia ever wanted in an inept Armenian “leader”. Once you make the simple observation that Pashinyan is doing everything Russia bids, and more interestingly, that if the Armenian government was actually on a western payroll, that can only mean that “western interests” are in fact Russian interests since they are doing everything Russia has always wanted: a step by step drive towards re-implementing the decrepit Soviet Union, then their argument quickly falls apart.

      A more accurate description of the Armenian “government” is that, a large segment of the uneducated and poor people of Armenia, through their comical arrogance are total amateurs and losers when it comes to politics, and their impotent attempt at playing international politics with the big boys and failing miserably at it shows the world what they really are: politicians who are picked directly from the clown department of a circus. That is the basic reason that Turks and Azeris succeed at their projects, and Russia gets everything it wants.

  10. And why do international community do not bother about Golan Heights? Oh it’s because it’s Israel. Pashinyan must resign immediately.

  11. First of all, Prime Minister Pashinyan is a double-talking flip-flopper and should never have been elected to hold one of the highest office that he does simply because he is unqualified to run a country let alone one in a state of war for the last thirty years. In reality, the reasons for this are numerous and too many to list. He is a pacifist, unpatriotic, does not have any military experience and has never served in the Armenian armed forces. How can we trust such a leader to deal with opportunist Turkish and pseudo-Turkish Azerbaijani racist hyenas? On the one hand, he publicly states Artsakh is Armenia and, on the other hand, he says he has no authority to speak on their behalf when he was the one holding “peace” negotiations with the enemy. We all know Artsakh is Armenia already so then why make such a statement publicly to give the enemy more ammunition and the reason it needs to call off negotiations and plan for the war? Lack of experience! All he had to say was that the native Armenians of Artsakh are living in their homeland where they had lived since time immemorial and we will always be on their side and guarantee their safety and security. In short, and in Armenian, Ինչո՞ւ հրապարակորեն նման հայտարարությունով թշնամու ջաղացին ջուր լցնել.

    One of the most important functions that the Armenian leadership lacks these days is effective foreign policy. If Armenia needs help from the international community, despite their false claim that they want to help but they can’t, and not that they don’t already know, is to familiarize them with the TRUE racist and anti-Armenian character of the enemy at the highest level with historical proofs , such as the complete depopulation through racist policies of native Armenians from the enemy-occupied Nakhikjevan (over 50% of the total population), the desecration and the destruction of the 1,300 year old Armenian cemetery in Julfa Nakhijevan in 2005, and the cultural genocide committed by Azerbaijani government against the indigenous Armenians throughout the conflict zone. To make the international community understand the consequence of the absence of such help that will eventually lead to the ethnic-cleansing of all Armenians from Artsakh.

    But the true reasons behind such statements made by the so-called international community is that helping Armenia is synonymous to going against NATO member Turkey, one of their own and Azerbaijan by direct association, jeopardize multi-billion dollar investments in Caspian oil & gas, AND going against the interests of another one of their own, the state of Israel, which next to Turkey is now the 2nd closest ally of the enemy importing nearly half of its energy requirements from the enemy and camping in the enemy artificial territory bordering Iran to spy and conduct reconnaissance operations in return for delivering to the enemy advanced state-of-the-art deadly weaponry!

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