Mirzoyan says Azerbaijan unwilling to recognize Armenia’s territorial integrity

YEREVAN—Following the launch of the widely criticized border delimitation and demarcation process between Armenia and Azerbaijan, on Tuesday, April 30, Ararat Mirzoyan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, sat down for an interview with Al-Jazeera, shedding light on the administration’s diplomatic viewpoints. 

Mirzoyan hinted at Armenia’s diminishing confidence in the efficacy of mechanisms within the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), suggesting skepticism about its ability to safeguard member states’ collective security interests. Within the context of Armenian-Russian relations, Mirzoyan said they are in dialogue over “some issues and some questions.” His comments point to lingering tensions and strained diplomatic ties between the two nations.

Mirzoyan’s willingness to engage in regional connectivity initiatives, particularly with Azerbaijan and Turkey, raised eyebrows, with critics interpreting such overtures as potentially compromising Armenia’s national interests and sovereignty.

While advocating for peaceful conflict resolution, Mirzoyan’s references to historical grievances and displacement of Armenians evoked somber reminders of past traumas and a lingering sense of vulnerability and insecurity. Mirzoyan’s interview paints a picture of Armenia navigating diplomatic waters fraught with challenges and uncertainties, raising concerns about the nation’s geopolitical positioning and diplomatic efficacy.

​​Mirzoyan highlighted persistent challenges in the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Despite past affirmations that the nations will recognize each other’s territorial integrity, Mirzoyan said that Azerbaijan is still reluctant to incorporate the Alma-Ata Declaration into the proposed peace treaty, a critical document for solidifying bilateral relations.

Mirzoyan’s interview coincides with the decision of the “Civil Contract” majority in the National Assembly to reject the proposal put forward by the opposition “Hayastan” faction for a parliamentary debate regarding the demarcation and delimitation of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, with 27 MPs voting in favor and 51 against.

Artur Khachatryan, a deputy representing the “Hayastan” faction, passionately presented the project during a plenary session. While the opposition expressed support for demarcation, it insisted that it must adhere to the actual borders established since 1993.

Khachatryan also referenced the agreement reached on April 19 by the border demarcation commissions of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The commissions agreed that Armenia would cede four border regions in the Tavush province to Azerbaijan, without any land concessions from Azerbaijan to Armenia. The opposition contends that demarcation should be guided by international norms, citing the U.N. Charter, the Vienna Convention and the Helsinki Final Act. They advocate for utilizing a demarcation document developed by the OSCE Secretariat as a framework.

Maria Karapetyan, an MP from the “Civil Agreement” faction and a correspondent on the matter, said that adopting the border as of September 24, 1993, as the basis for demarcation would effectively relinquish Armenia’s state border, reverting to a framework centered on military action.

On April 29, PM Pashinyan convened with residents of the Kirants village in Tavush at the RA government building. Residents of border villages Kirants, Baghanis and Voskepar have been protesting the government’s decision to cede adjacent territories, asserting that it would expose them to attacks by Azerbaijan. The meeting unfolded amidst a somber atmosphere and failed to assuage the concerns of the attendees. According to the “Tavush for the Homeland” civil movement, crucial inquiries remained unanswered, underscoring a lack of clarity and a political strategy by the government to ensure the safety and security of its citizens, safeguarding their lives, property and rights.

Kirants residents protest the Armenian government’s decision to cede four villages in Tavush (Photo: ABC Media)

In an interview with the Armenian Weekly, MP Garnik Danielyan of the “Hayastan” faction shared insights regarding the meeting. Six villagers and the village’s administrative head convened with Pashinyan, who addressed the looming concerns surrounding the village’s fate.

According to Danielyan, Pashinyan’s remarks during the meeting indicated a stark reality: the potential division of the village, with a significant portion falling under Azerbaijani control. A proposed road would traverse through essential community institutions, including a newly constructed school and a revered church.

While the villagers sought reassurances regarding their safety and livelihoods post-transfer, Pashinyan’s response fell short of expectations. He suggested erecting a wall to deter Azerbaijani encroachment, which was deemed impractical and failed to address the villagers’ fears.

MP Danielyan echoed the villagers’ dismay, who he said possess over 50 cadastre documents validating their rightful ownership of homes and lands. He said that there are no historical border delineations through the village, in contrast to Azerbaijani territorial claims.

“Pashinyan issued veiled threats of utilizing force to quell dissent among villagers, akin to the heavy-handed tactics employed by the red and black beret units,” Danielyan said. Such coercive measures, aimed at stifling peaceful protest, raise concerns about the government’s commitment to democratic principles, which have been scrutinized by Freedom House. 

MP Danielyan shed light on the ongoing support rallying around Kirants. “Protests are emerging in different corners of Armenia, as individuals and various organizations are converging to express solidarity with the movement,” said Danielyan. He emphasized the growing momentum of the resistance movement, asserting that the collective efforts of the Armenian populace will prevail against external pressures.

Danielyan said that the ramifications of the border delimitation process extend beyond the confines of a single village. He warned against the perilous consequences of PM Pashinyan’s concessions, citing the imminent threat posed by Azerbaijan’s militarized border guards.

Highlighting the disparity in military preparedness between Armenian and Azerbaijani border forces, Danielyan lamented the lack of adequate defenses to safeguard strategic heights and border villages. He cautioned against complacency, asserting that no corner of Armenia remains immune to the encroaching threat.

In a call to action, Danielyan urged widespread participation in protest activities. Drawing parallels to historic battles, he invoked the spirit of Sardarabad, rallying Armenians worldwide to unite in defense of their homeland.

Condemning Pashinyan’s approach as reminiscent of past failures in Artsakh, Danielyan denounced the absence of security guarantees amid territorial concessions. He urged a collective stance against the government’s unilateral actions, stressing the imperative of halting the current, detrimental trajectory.

A video circulating online depicts distraught Tavush residents leaving the April 29 meeting with PM Pashinyan. In response, Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, head of the Diocese of Tavush, issued a statement expressing solidarity with the affected residents and demanding accountability from the government. “Those who have valiantly defended the border for years have been rendered powerless,” Archbishop Galstanyan said.

In a stern message to the authorities, Archbishop Galstanyan said that they will be held accountable for their actions. Calling for transparency and justice, he pledged unwavering support for the affected residents upon their return from the meeting. He extended gratitude to all those who have joined the movement for Tavush, stressing the importance of continued advocacy in the face of adversity.

“Tavush for the Motherland” also issued a scathing statement, condemning the government’s inability to guarantee the safety of residents in the demarcated territory of the “Armenian part.” The statement lamented the government’s failure to provide essential security assurances to Kirants village and other affected communities in the Tavush region, and by extension, across other demarcated regions.

Highlighting concerns over creeping Azerbaijani ambitions, the statement emphasized the detrimental impact of the government’s concessions in favor of Azerbaijan, warning of potential ramifications in the Syunik, Ararat and Gegharkunik border provinces. It criticized the government for squandering Armenia’s military, political and diplomatic resources, alleging incompetence and dissemination of false information to justify its actions at the expense of national interests.

The statement said that the government has lost its credibility through its failure to fulfill constitutional and moral obligations to protect citizens. Asserting the illegality of the demarcation process and its contravention of Armenia’s constitution and laws, the movement called for its immediate cessation.

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.

22 Comments

  1. These concessions will not finalize Aliyevs appetite for more land. Unfortunately the geopolitical dynamics (ukraine war, fossil fuel wealth) are all working against Armenia. Current administration may have a well intended aspiration to bind with EU and west, but the real outcome has been disastrous.

    I dont think Armenia can afford to have dreams of joining west. Armenian leaders need to think in terms of long term security and unfortunately Russia is the only country who can provide it. Iran may be regional power but I doubt it will jeopardize a conflict with internal Azeri population. (West would like to see Iran breakdown and this would be a catalyst. The last thing Armenia needs is another Turkic state in the south)

    If the Ukraine war ends in Russia’s favor, and if there is an administration change in Armenia, there may be a path for long term Armenian security. Otherwise this current path will lead to more concessions and eventually loss of Syunik.

    • Time for Armenians to note how Russia which doesn’t adjoin Armenia relates to Armenia neighbours Georgia and Azerbaijan who do. Georgia considered by Armenia as ambiguous has been attacked by Russia who occupies much of its territory, Azerbaijan considered by Armenia as hostile has a comfortable relationship with Russia who respects their mutual border. Whilst it’s true potential allies France, Greece, India are far away none are pariah in the USA viewpoint, reaching to Russia plays into Azerbaijan and Turkey ploys as they say they’re an ally of your enemy regarding Armenia links to Russia. Russia war in Ukraine has led to Armenia being expendable in its retrenchment as it has to focus upon what matters for itself. If Georgia comes more firmly under Russian influence then Armenia will have to fall in as it would have no choice. Russia failure to uphold it’s obligations within the 2020 agreement and as guarantor within the CTSO has dented its reputation in Armenia and hasn’t particularly impressed Azerbaijan either interestingly as it’s shown their weakness up. Armenian vunerablity to Turkey and Azerbaijan had led to a gulliablity about Russia. Also whilst not intended as such the defence treaty with Russia of 1996 led to a misplaced confidence and calamitous prevarication in negotiations with Azerbaijan until it became incontrovertible that Armenia had lost its advantage. Also valid is alliances don’t tend to survive a defeat, history is replete with examples of where defeated nations tend to have a cooler relationship as a result of the failure, rightly or wrongly Armenia assumed Russia would as their ally protect them. On legalistic principles Russia declined to assure security for NK but claimed to for internationally recognised Armenia hence whilst there was disappointment in 2020 it could be excused on legality principles. The defence treaty with Russia led to a conceit ” we protect Arktash, Russia protects us thus we are fine” It’s role as a guarantor in 2020 led many to view it as a saviour but in fact was only there to help supervise its partner Azerbaijan gaining full control in time, it’s failure to prevent the blockade and Azeri attack and encroachment on Armenia was a clear failure on Russia part. Having Russia as an ally has not prevented these defeats and it’s own daliances with Azerbaijan such as it’s friendship treaty where at affirmed support for Azerbaijan internationally recognised boundaries and opposition to secessionist movements makes it clear that objectively Russia had decided that Azerbaijan is more important to them. Also by being an ally of Russia within the CTSO it drastically limited what Armenia could purchase from other countries and rendered Armenia dependent on Russia whereas Azerbaijan had no such tie in and was able to pursue extensive links with Turkey and Israel and Pakistan in particular and ironically also Russia. Now that Armenia has suspended participation in CTSO it can be supplied with equipment via Georgia from sympathetic NATO countries namely France and Greece. Even if Armenia didn’t have daylight between itself and Russia, Russia own collapse in relations with the west and it’s war in Ukraine would have had negative consequences for Armenia on a subjective basis …

  2. If Armenia loses Syunik then it ceases to be a viable state.

    The Russophobes need to know how to read a map.

    The American Armenians are seriously deluded. They live in a country where 99.99% of Americans can’t find Armenia on a map and yet they think they can fool people into believing that the Americans will come and rescue Armenia.

    No, they will not.

    Time to grow up, learn how to read a map and live in the real world or live as dhimmis with the Turks as the masters.

  3. @Robert Whig

    Russians are only good for Kartoshkas. I make so much money from Turkish politicians introducing to Nikol Civil contract.

    What do you need Russia for? Brotherly Turks, are winners, with NATO and Americans. Beautiful brotherly turks are not enemy. Us Polsahyes have managed to convince all Armenians real enemy is Russia, not Turkiye.

    Welcome to my Polsahye world

    • @FAKE Polsahye Sevan
      You took your art of lying to a whole new level. You really need to work on your lies a lot more. You know they say the truth is in details and you failed in that miserably. Try harder next time. I won’t tell you how but you gave yourself away even before you began lying!

  4. Brothers and sisters! Please stop complaining. Everything is okay. We won in 2018. We are now a liberal democracy and we finally freed Armenia from Russia’s terrible yoke. From the diaspora to the homeland, this is what we all wanted in 2018. Always remember that Russians are worst than Turks. France is our real ally and French people really love us because we gave them their Aznavour. Be positive my brothers and sister! Turks are powerless against Armenians. We are a liberal democracy now and we are finally free from Russian tyranny. That’s what counts. We are winners, not losers, like some of you naively think. Be positive!

    • @Greg

      You absolutely, utterly, totally and completely need to be granted your wish.

      Russia moves out of its base in Armenia and leaves Armenia alone.

      What then?

      I presume you intend to move to Armenia and then defend Armenia with your body and soul?

      When Russia moves out, the Turks move in.

    • Au contraire mon frère. When oppressive Russians and their bland kartoshkas move out, democratic French forces with their wonderful cheeses and wines will move in. France and Armenia have been best allies for one thousand years. The French love us. Russians hate us. Russia always stops Armenia from being great again. Russians were responsible for the Armenian genocide. Learn your history!

  5. Armenian unity is the only real answer that has been missing: ONE ARMENIA, ARTSAKH AND DIASPORA all working as one unified nation army including coordinated world wide political activists and YES, DIASPORA MILITARY UNITS ready capable who invest and protect the interests of Armenia. . This is nothing any past thieves or sadly the current useless incompetent treasonous Armenian “leader” will ever entertain. Always looking for an imaginary outside savor, Russia, France NATO and even genocidal Turks (anything possibly worse the this idea?) is pipe dream. Tribal mentality needs to END! Traitors and thieves need to hang. THIS IS THE ONLY REAL WAY FORWARD. Are we all ready and in agreement on this? If not Armenia is doomed.

    • Yes, brother Steve! We need to join foces with honorable Georgians and courageous NATO and fight to erase Russsia and Turkiya from the map. We can do it if we put our minds to it because we are a liberal democracy, the best kind of government in the world! They fear us. Trust me. Let’s do it!

  6. Aside from Ukraine and Armenia, is there another nation anywhere in the world whose borders are continually being eroded by a hostile enemy? Everyone sympathizes with Ukraine and thousands of Americans fly their flag. Yet the whole world seems oblivious to the outrages being perpetrated by the Azeris. I guess oil speaks louder than the cries of an obscure, embattled democratic republic.

    • Neighboring Georgia is in the same situation just like Armenia and Ukraine, whose territory has been occupied and encroached by Russia. Sadly just like Armenia, Georgia doesn’t make it into the headlines, because it doesn’t have oil and gas like Azerbaijan or is not “strategic” like Ukraine. It is a cruel, unjust and hypocritical world, in which the “might makes right” mentality reigns supreme and smaller and weaker countries and nations are crushed by the larger, powerful and aggressive countries. It’s back to the bad old days, where this was the order of the day, and which never entirely disappeared.

    • My naive brother, Robert. Do you know the real reason why Turkiye not releasing genocide era archives? Because Putler (Putin+Hitlet=Putler!!!) begged Erdogan to keep them sealed so that the world didn’t find out Russia ordered the genocide because they want Armenia without Armenians. The Russians fears Armenians because we are liberal democratic fedayeees! That’s why they sold all of Armenia to Turks and td them to genocide us. Before that Turks and Armenians were brothers. All Arnenians living in Ottoman Turkiye were rich and famous and Turks were in awe. Learn our real history brother Robert.

  7. Mirzoyan is even more incompetent than his boss Pashinyan and he is a foreign minister! His brain must move really slowly for him to realize that Azerbaijan has designs on Armenian territory! That Armenia is run by such incompetent, inexperienced and stupid politicians is not only tragic, it is suicidal in the face of predatory genocidal enemies Azerbaijan and Turkey. Not only is their handing of Armenian territory to Azerbaijan, who has additionally occupied Armenian territory since 2021, without a quid pro quo and without demanding Azerbaijan to return Armenian territory and recognize the borders of Armenia, high treason, Pashinyan and Co. are continuing to weaken Armenia to defend itself even minimally and even to the point endangering its existence. If leaders in other countries did what Pashinyan did or even a fraction, there would have been an uprising, a revolution or a coup d’etat, and such a leader would have been deposed and either fled abroad to exile, imprisoned or executed.

    • Brother Steve,
      How dare your attack Armenia’s twice duly elected liberal democratic leaders with awestern education and progessive outlooks. You and I put thrm in power in 2018 to bring Armenia out of Russia’s oppressive control and into the modern world were we live hapilly with our Turkish and Muslim neighbors, and we get to have all kinds of liberal parades with lots of really pretty floats. We can do it!

  8. We are a stupid foolish lot. We have learned nothing it seems in our 3,000 year existence. We don’t know who our friends are and who the traitors are. We just seem to be interested in one upping each other with instagram pics and fancy cars, just shameful.

  9. ENOUGH of all your ‘expert’ advice and bickering. None of you are real MEN. Stop barking like mangy dogs and TAKE ACTION!
    Real men and true Armenian patriots would do exactly that, plan – proceed-execute, and not talk, bark and opine with all this nonsense. You want to solve Armenia’s looming threat from Azerbaijan & Turkey? Here’s a starter:
    – Organise a well-disciplined commando of ex-Special Forces soldiers ( from different countries ) and put a bull’s eye on that bastard pashinyan and his cohorts. Note, that vile coward doesn’t deserve a capital ‘p’ to his name.
    Then stand by for further orders to militarize the Armenian forces with the best weapons available, including chemical-biological- nuclear arsenals. There os NO other alternative.
    What is lost by war, is only recoupable by war.

  10. Love the sarcasm 😄😄 all the pashayev supporters are either mentally handicapped or traitors 🤷‍♂️

  11. Armenia does not neee nuclear weapons but it does need long range missiles with powerful conventional warheads.

    As long as the Turks know that Armenia has the power, capacity and will to destroy both Istanbul and Baku, they will behave themselves.

    But for that to happen, Armenia must be under the rule of real men not a coward like Pashinyan.

    Armenians are not suited for Democracy.

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