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22 May, 2023 10:05

Armenia ready to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan – PM

Nikol Pashinyan's declaration comes after a round of talks brokered by Moscow
Armenia ready to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan – PM

Armenia is prepared to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as part of neighboring Azerbaijan if the authorities in Baku guarantee the safety and rights of the local population, which predominantly consists of ethnic Armenians, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Monday.

Speaking at a press conference, Pashinyan noted that the territory of Azerbaijan encompasses 86,600 sq km, a figure significant because it includes the region in question. The president added, however, that “at the same time, we say that the issue of the rights and safety of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh should be discussed” in future negotiations.

“If we and Azerbaijan understand each other correctly, Armenia will recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within the named limits, while Baku will recognize the territorial integrity of Armenia within the area of 29,800 sq km,” he added.

The prime minister also called for international safety guarantees, expressing concern that the lack of any mechanism could result in Azerbaijan carrying out “ethnic cleansing” in the region.

Pashinyan went on to say that Azerbaijan and Armenia are engaged in active peace talks, expressing hope that the sides will be able to quickly hash out any differences.

Echoing these remarks, Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, said he hopes the negotiations will “bring about solid peace in the South Caucasus,” despite Nagorno-Karabakh “having been under Armenian occupation for about 30 years, with a million of Azeris having been driven out of their homes.”

The two leaders are scheduled to hold talks in Moscow on Thursday, and Russian President Vladimir Putin will act as mediator.

The two former Soviet republics have been locked in a conflict over the disputed region with a total population of around 150,000 for several decades. As the Soviet Union was collapsing, in 1988, Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan, unilaterally establishing its own republic three years later. This triggered a major war, which claimed the lives of thousands of people and ended in an internationally mediated truce in 1994.  

Since then, however, Armenia and Azerbaijan have engaged in sporadic fighting over the area. One of the latest clashes took place in 2020; the tensions were diffused by Moscow’s efforts to mediate.

Pashinyan’s statement comes after he said in April that Yerevan and Baku could sign a peace treaty if they both recognize one another’s territorial integrity “without any ambiguity and pitfalls,” while agreeing not to have any territorial disputes in the future.