Pashinyan calls Aliyev’s statements a blow to the peace process

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev during the interview on Jan. 10, 2024 (Photo: Office of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan)

YEREVAN—Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s recent provocative statements damaging to the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process.

In a January 10 interview, Aliyev unveiled a comprehensive strategy that encompasses political alignment with Moscow, territorial demands against Armenia, and a dismissal of historical maps, marking a significant shift in the region’s geopolitical landscape. 

These remarks prompted a strong response from Pashinyan. “I consider Baku’s latest statements a serious blow to the peace process,” Pashinyan said on January 13. He highlighted the importance of the border delimitation process, emphasizing that its goal is not to create a new border but to reproduce the borders that existed at the time of the Almaty Declaration of 1991. Pashinyan accused Azerbaijan of attempting to form territorial claims against Armenia.

President Aliyev’s recent call for an unhindered road through Meghri, Armenia, has raised eyebrows, underscoring a deepening political alliance with Russia. During the January 10 interview, Aliyev reiterated his demand for a corridor without border controls passing through southern Armenia and insisted that the route should be monitored by Russian soldiers. Aliyev’s emphasis on the need for Russian control adds complexity to the geopolitical landscape in the South Caucasus and is seen as a Turkish-backed project by Ani Avetyan of the Voskanapat Analytic Center.

Aliyev has rejected Armenia’s proposal to use Soviet-era maps from 1975 as the basis for negotiations, challenging the foundation of diplomatic talks. Azerbaijan has asserted its unwillingness to retreat from territories occupied during the 2021 conflict, hinting at potential expansionist ambitions. The Azerbaijani leader’s historical revisionism, dismissing maps predating the 1970s, has wider implications for the negotiation process.

Armenia faces challenges in navigating the intricate geopolitics of the South Caucasus as Azerbaijan’s strategic realignment and territorial aspirations unfold. The international community is closely watching for potential consequences stemming from these evolving dynamics.

President Aliyev’s recent three-hour interview, marking the beginning of his pre-election campaign, provided insight into his views on ongoing Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations. Varuzhan Geghamyan, a scholar of Turkish history, highlighted 10 key points that underpin Aliyev’s strategy:

  • Border Ambiguity: The proposed “peace treaty” avoids specifying the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, potentially enabling Azerbaijan to violate the agreement at any time without a defined border.
  • Territorial Retention: Azerbaijan will not release internationally recognized territories of Armenia occupied after November 2020, dismissing the idea of a “mirror withdrawal of troops” proposed by Armenia.
  • Unilateral Agreement: Azerbaijan aims to sign the document without an international intermediary, allowing for potential violations without international complications.
  • Blockade Continuation: Azerbaijan plans to maintain a complete blockade of Armenia and will not open the border, aligning with Turkey’s position.
  • Village Liberation: Azerbaijan insists on retaking eight villages inside Armenia’s borders as enclaves it claims are currently occupied by Armenia, demanding mini-corridors to the enclaves for Azerbaijani inhabitants.
  • Syunik Corridor: Azerbaijan seeks a corridor through the Syunik province of Armenia, specifically through the town Meghri, as the “shortest and most convenient way” to its exclave Nakhichevan.
  • Capture of Leaders: Aliyev expresses intent to capture former presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Robert Kocharyan.
  • Turkic Place Names: Aliyev consistently uses Turkic place names for Armenian areas, reflecting a broader effort to shape Azerbaijani societal perceptions.
  • Confidence in Gas Supply: Azerbaijan, a key gas supplier to the European Union, asserts confidence in managing Western pressure, emphasizing the need for strategic dealings with Russia.
  • Peace Treaty Manipulation: The interview suggests that Azerbaijan may not seek peaceful coexistence with Armenia, viewing the “peace treaty” as a manipulation to weaken Armenian resistance. Concessions from Armenia on these points may lead to further demands from Azerbaijan and Turkey, reminiscent of the dangers faced by Syunik and Jermuk after concessions on the Artsakh issue.

Artak Zakaryan, a member of the executive body of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), expressed strong opposition to Aliyev’s recent declaration that Yerevan and Jermuk belong to Azerbaijan. In an interview with ABC media, Zakaryan highlighted that the issue of the right to self-determination of the people of Artsakh can only be considered closed by adhering to international norms and legislation.

Zakaryan emphasized that, according to international legislation, illegal actions have taken place against the people of Artsakh, including ethnic cleansing, forced displacement and risks of genocide. He urged the governing authorities of Armenia to approach the problem from the perspective of protecting their own interests rather than justifying Aliyev’s illegal demands.

The RPA official said the Armenian people should not be criticized for expressing their historical memory and accused the authorities of giving Azerbaijan the opportunity to make territorial claims against Armenia, referring to “Western Azerbaijan,” an irredentist concept used by Azerbaijan against Armenia. Zakaryan cautioned that such actions risk handing over the Republic of Armenia on a platter or, at the very least, preparing the ground for phased actions.

“[Armenians] patiently wait and hope that something good can happen from the conspirators, but it won’t happen. There will be deception, new losses, new victims, attempts at groundless explanations, searches for new culprits in other places, and an extension of one’s own infamous power,” Zakaryan said.

As tensions rise over territorial claims, the concerns of the people of Armenia regarding Azerbaijan’s assertions and the region’s stability increase.

Tatev Hayrapetyan, an expert on Azerbaijan, provided insight into the Armenian government’s reaction to Aliyev’s statements. Hayrapetyan argued that propaganda sites and expert circles close to Pashinyan are attempting to downplay Aliyev’s speech as connected to pre-election events. However, she emphasized that Aliyev’s statements have been consistent over the past year, indicating a more profound and longstanding plan for the occupation of Armenian territories.

Hayrapetyan urged the removal of Pashinyan and his team as essential to prevent the danger of war and maintain regional stability. She criticized the Armenian authorities for remaining silent and making concessions instead of presenting Azerbaijan’s policies to the international community, emphasizing that the de facto dictatorial regime in Baku is becoming a real threat to regional stability.

Hoory Minoyan

Hoory Minoyan

Hoory Minoyan was an active member of the Armenian community in Los Angeles until she moved to Armenia prior to the 44-day war. She graduated with a master's in International Affairs from Boston University, where she was also the recipient of the William R. Keylor Travel Grant. The research and interviews she conducted while in Armenia later became the foundation of her Master’s thesis, “Shaping Identity Through Conflict: The Armenian Experience.” Hoory continues to follow her passion for research and writing by contributing to the Armenian Weekly.
Hoory Minoyan

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16 Comments

  1. The armenian cuckold prime minister is the pride of russophobes, turcophiles, wimps, losers, money-grubbing weirdos.

    They see pashinyan in themselves

  2. The Turks only understand strength.

    Armenia must reply with an iron fist.

    And that means first getting rid of Pashinyan.

    Men of steel are needed.

    • @Arsen, Armenia does not have the ability to get rid of Nikol Pashinyan, a draft dodger, and man whose so-called wife, Anna Hakob”yan/stein”, runs the show? But the Armenian military stood down in protecting Serzh Sarkisyan, a war hero, and demonized Robert Kocharian, one of Artsakh’s heros, who the AGBU and Istanbul “elite” ran out of Yerevan?

      Seems kinda fishy…

  3. I am sick of repeated reference to “international community” as the arbiter of Armenia’s territorial integrity! Where was the “international community” during the nine months of Azerbaijan’s inhumane blockade of Lachin corridor. Lets be realistic;there isn’t any support in the international community for Armenia’s territorial integrity and her security. As long as Turkey is part of NATO and the European Union depends on Azerbaijan’s gas,there is no sympathy for Armenia. Peace through strength is the only way for our survival as a nation. A strong military will be the answer to the two bullies on each side of of our borders.

    • The first step to take in accomplishing all that you mentioned will require removing from office the current pacifist, delusional, incompetent, unpatriotic and treasonous sorry excuse for a leader who thinks acting like sheep among a pack of wolves will bring security, peace and prosperity to Armenia. The opportunist and cunning Turks and pseudo-Turkish Azerbaijanis become lions when facing sheep and they turn into sheep when facing lions. We must decide which we want to be, a sheep like this unrepentant psychopath in office, or lions who will put the fear of God in the enemy like we did thirty years ago.

  4. Its time for Armenia to go on the diplomatic and military offensive. What does Armenia need to ensure its security?

    – A demilitarized Artsakh and Nachichevan with no Azeri troops present
    – A demilitarized Turkish Armenia border with Turkish military at least 50 miles from the border, guaranteed by US and Russia

    – If Russia wants to oversee the road from Azerbaijan to Nachichevan through Syunik then Armenia should demand;
    – Return of 150,000 Armenians back to Artsakh under Russian protection as stipulated by Nov 9th 2020 agreement
    – Russia should invest $ 1 Bn in Armenia to help build the North South route through Syunik connecting Iran to Georgia and Black Sea ports
    – Russia should supply latest advanced weapons to Armenia on a regular basis

    This may sound like a fantasy to some readers, but that is what is needed to ensure the security of Armenia. How to achieve this? Armenia must get out of a chronic dependency mentality and take charge of its future by a) building up its economy , b) increasing its population c) making its military the strongest in the Caucasus region. This requires leadership and mobilization of the entire nation in Armenia and Diaspora. A nation of 8 million people can do this! We are waiting for the visionary leader who will sound the “call to arms”.

    • DO NOT FORGET THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF ARMENIANS KIDNAPPED BY AZERBAIJAN (ARTSAKH’S LEADERS)!!!

      RUSSIA GIVES WEAPONS TO BOTH ARMENIA AND AZERBAIJAN AND THEN SITS BACK TO WATCH US KILL EACH OTHER! WHO DOES THAT EXCEPT A SICK AND TWISTED MONSTER? RUSSIA CAN NOT BE TRUSTED. WE WILL TAKE THEIR WEAPONS BUT KEEP THEIR VODKA DRINKING BUTTS OUT OF ARMENIA AND ITS AFFAIRS.

  5. This Agreement, if accepted, would be a national humiliation for Armenia.

    It is a direct assault on Armenia’s sovereignty and cannot be accepted.

  6. To all commenters, stop your mouth diarrhea from spewing and go to Armenia and start making weapons.

    Your thumbs are not needed unless on a trigger, your keyboard is as useless as your words…

    Armenians are stupid, loudmouth, and constantly discontent with who their government is, before Pasho it was Sergo, before Sergio it was Kocho, before Kochi it was Vazgen (whoops Armenians killed him, but who?) and before that it was Levon…never has anyone been content with leadership.

    Yet, there has never been a time where Armenians did not need, and I mean with utmost urgency, artillery, advanced missile defenses and weaponry. This, for one reason or another, has been absent from the military to the degree required to secure borders and ward off the incoming Turkic waves. Armenians sit, yell, fight one another, making it easy for the enemy to trounce on our everything.

    Stop and go build weapons, or buy weapons if you have the money, for Armenia and build a defense industry, contribute to the defense industry… Do you idiots understand?!

  7. No one should be surprised, let alone shocked, if Pashinyan decides to appease aggressive and hungry Azerbaijan and Turkey by giving up Armenia’s land to connect Azerbaijan with Nakhichevan and Turkey, foolishly believing that a lasting peace can be achieved with them, and betray and sabotage the Armenian nation even more. The situation of Armenia vis-a-vis Azerbaijan and Turkey, is eerily reminiscent to that of Czechoslovakia vis-a-vis Nazi Germany, with Putin as a modern-day Neville Chamberlain who colludes with Armenia’s two archenemies and Pashinyan a modern-day Edvard Benes, who probably hopes by appeasing the enemy, he can avert a wholescale invasion and war.

  8. Armenia has advanced weapons.

    Armenian incompetance is the reason why they are not used.

    The Sukhoi 30 is better than anything that that the Turks in Azerbaijan have got whilst the Iskander missiles could blast Baku.

    And yet in the 2020 war, neither the Sukhois or the Iskanders were used.

    And in the 2023 war, Pashinyan declared that the Armenian Army would not even fight!

    Sometimes, it seems that the Armenians are determined to live up to the stereotype of the Armenians as carpet salesmen.

    • Armenia did use the Iskander missiles against Azerbaijan in the 2020 war, but none of them hit military installations, hardware and troops and other critical infrastructure such as power plants, bridges, dams, factories, etc. Ultimately, tanks and Iskander missiles became obsolete and proved useless against drone warfare, which is the warfare of the present. Unfortunately, thanks to billions of dollars revenue from oil and gas, Azerbaijan armed itself over the past two decades with the most modern military hardware from Israel and Turkey, and its troops were also trained by these countries. The Azerbaijanis learned from their past failures and mistakes, and created an army from scratch. Armenia became complacent and relied too much on Soviet technology, old fashioned military tactics and relied too much on one country – Russia, which did not lift its finger when Artsakh and Armenia was attacked. That Armenia did not develop drone technology and drones for drone warfare, which has proven to be effective and could have been decisive in beating Azerbaijan, is particularly tragic.

  9. Armenia has no options but Russia.

    Ukraine war will end at some point. What happened in Karabakh was Russian incompetency, yes but what option did Putin have once Pashinyan declared Karabakh as an internal issue in AZ. Today AZ is selling Russian gas to Italy thru Tanap. Russia has the natural resources and willpower to standby Armenia, not because of their historic love for Armenians but because of their historic rivalry with Turks, dating back centuries, golden horn, Crimea, etc.

    Current situation in Ukraine will not last forever. When Trump comes into power, may be western support will crumble. Europe has nothing to offer to Ukraine without Us leadership.

    If you look at history, Armenians suffered every time Russia was weak, 1878, then through Bolshevik revolution and now again. During the 50s, Russia even asked for Western Armenia, prompting Turkey to join Nato in 52 after joining the Korean war endeavor.

    Above comments on population reflects the reality which is hard to come in terms with.

    • @Steve M , I was aware Armenia used some of its iskanders but from what I know they didn’t seem effective either not hitting their targets or being intercepted or any which were effective were not enough to sway the outcome of events.

      @ Costanza yes the war in Ukraine will end in some way at some time that is for time to tell. Take note of the fact Russia always considered N-K or Arktash to be part of Azerbaijan, two days before invading Ukraine when it was beyond doubt the situation was about to blow, Russia and Azerbaijan signed off friendship and cooperation agreement which included affirmation of support for each nations internationally recognised boundaries thus Russia was stating that it was part of Azerbaijan. Thus when Russia was telling Armenia and the Armenian population of N-K that the issue could be settled at another date it was engaged in double talk and stringing along giving misplaced hopes. After all in breach of the tripartite agreement Azerbaijan blocked communications with Armenia causing much hardship whilst Russia did nothing, no Berlin airlift for Arktash… Pashinyan called Putin out by acknowledging the grim reality that the area was part of Azerbaijan, however wrong this seems and no matter how mendacious and cynical the Bolshevik authorities were the boundaries they defined as more closely surveyed in 1975 are the boundaries the various SSRs acknowledged in the Alma Alta declaration as the sovereign boundaries. The Tanap pipeline which was financed and supported by western nations as a means to bring oil and gas to the black sea and beyond and avoiding Russian territory. This pipeline enabled Azerbaijan to earn vast amounts of money and eventually reverse their 1994 defeat! Also there was a pragmatic reason the previous route from Azerbaijan to Russia went through Chetchenya which became inoperable due to the war there. Nevertheless it was built to unhindered diameter unlike the gas pipeline from Iran which despite Armenia being independent and strongly pro Russian government in a neo colonial action Russia forced to be built in 700mm diameter once it reached Armenia on the Iranian side it is 1450mm this action meant it could never be used as transit route and denied Armenia the ability to earn income from transit fee’s and be able to represent it’s interests more strongly in Iran and Georgia. For Russia Armenia isn’t worth the emenity of Turkey and Azerbaijan and to a lesser extent the central Asian Turkic countries. Soviet attempts to reverse what they had signed away a generation before only succeeded in driving Turkey into NATO ensuring that as a result the issue of the Armenian genocide was sidelined until Joe Biden recognised it 2021 shortly after taking office. Also the Soviet Union would end up affirming the 1921 boundary hence their clumsy ill conceived actions did no favours to Armenia and the genocide issue at all!
      Donald Trump might be re-elected although he has shown himself to be completely indifferent to Armenia and under his office relationship with Russia continued to decline.
      As for when Russia was weak Armenia suffering although the 1990s conflict caused hardship Armenia had a triumph and success and Russia was in a weakened state. In 2020 with an apparently much stronger Russia, Armenia had a catasophe. When it was unclear if the Bolshevik revolution would succeed Armenia had control of Kars and the western Armenian plateau when they had consolidated their position they in collusion with Kemalist Turkey took control of the pre 1878 boundary and western Armenia was abolished and Eastern Armenia with boundaries drawn in Georgia and Azerbaijan favour for the most part.

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