Armenian PM's 180 degree shift in favour of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity
    Yerevan’s sobriety

    ANALYTICS  24 May 2023 - 16:17

    Matanat Nasibova

    Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan made several sensational confessions regarding the agenda of peace negotiations with Azerbaijan, in particular, Karabakh’s belonging and the delimitation of borders at a press conference in Yerevan.

    Here, the Armenian prime minister said that the territory of Azerbaijan “with an area of 86.6 thousand square meters. km includes Nagorno-Karabakh”. Moreover, he said that during the negotiations in Brussels, Armenia recognised all 86.6 thousand square meters, including Karabakh, as belonging to Azerbaijan.

    The prime minister also assured that in the course of negotiations with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the parties achieved progress in resolving Armenian-Azerbaijani relations.

    However, if we recall that in Yerevan, for all 30 years of occupation of Azerbaijani lands, Karabakh was called part of Armenia, it would be at least strange if Pashinyan's revelations did not cause a negative reaction in Armenia itself.

    And the reflex worked - immediately after Pashinyan's confessions, the Armenian opposition flew to the streets with protests. This is how the opponents of the authorities intend to prevent the consolidation of Pashinyan's statements on Karabakh at the upcoming May 25 meeting of the leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia and, as a result, the achievement of a final compromise on the peace agenda of Baku and Yerevan.

    The Armenian media, in any case, writes that the opposition is afraid that Pashinyan may sign a surrender this fall following the upcoming meetings in Moscow, Chisinau and Brussels.

    But a noteworthy point in the statements of the Armenian prime minister is not only that he recognised the belonging of Karabakh to Azerbaijan (especially since this was not the first time he mentioned this), but that this time he explained that this has a historical and international justification.

    Firstly, Pashinyan said that Armenia's current position on Karabakh is in line with his pre-election promises on a peace agenda. This message, apparently, was addressed to all mediators of the negotiation process and is also designed for the attention of the international community.

    At the same time, the Armenian prime minister called “an honest conversation with a person, with a citizen” important (apparently referring to every ordinary Armenian), adding that, touching on this issue, it is necessary to take into account the change of geopolitical situation in comparison with June 2021. And he immediately stressed that the principle of territorial integrity has become a top priority, the most important provision in international relations.

    Secondly, in response to a comment noting that, according to the decision of Armenia’s Supreme Council, “it does not have the right to sign a document recognising Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan, since the Armenian Constitution was later drawn up on the basis of this decision,” Pashinyan suggested that a small historical deviation.

    He recalled that in 1989 the Supreme Council and the Regional Council of Nagorno-Karabakh adopted a decision “on the reunification of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh”, and in 1990 Armenia adopted a Declaration of Independence, referring, among other things, to the above-mentioned decision.

    “Further in 1991, Nagorno-Karabakh declared its independence. The question arises - independence from whom? If from Armenia, then isn't this a violation of the aforementioned joint decision? If violated, why are the perpetrators not held accountable? If independence was declared from Azerbaijan, then again, doesn't this violate the joint decision of the Supreme Council and the Regional Council? After all, if Nagorno-Karabakh was reunited with Armenia, then from whom does Nagorno-Karabakh become independent now?” Pashinyan asked, arguing for the justice and legitimacy of his statements in historical and legal terms.

    As for one of the most difficult issues on the peace agenda - the delimitation of borders, then, according to Pashinyan, the demarcation and delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border is supposed to be carried out according to the maps of the Soviet General Staff from 1975, talking about the maps, the reliability of which was also mentioned by the Russian side. Consequently, Pashinyan emphasized that Armenia’s position remains the same, that is, it stands for delimitation according to the maps of the Soviet General Staff from 1975.

    And finally, with regard to the peace treaty: if we believe the words of the Armenian prime minister, then Yerevan considers it important to advance the peace agenda, especially given the current global military-political situation. At the same time, certain optimism is added by the prime minister's hopes that the parties will soon be able to reach an agreement on the text and sign a peace treaty.

    Thus, the Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement can be done as follows: the Armenian leader is ready to sign a peace agreement with Baku, according to which Yerevan unconditionally recognises the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, including Karabakh.

    Presumably, this is due to the fact that, firstly, the Armenian prime minister realises the inevitability of concluding such a document due to pressure from Baku, Moscow, Brussels and Washington, and will no longer be able to get away from this event.

    Secondly, he most likely understands that it is pointless to deny that Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan since this is a generally recognised fact, which is also enshrined in international law. By the way, this argument, in fact, he himself brought in his speech.

    On the other hand, the defeat of Armenia in the 44-day war of 2020 put an end to the Karabakh conflict.

    And if five years ago (in August 2019) at a rally in Khankandi, Pashinyan boldly declared that “Karabakh is Armenia and that’s it”, today his rhetoric has changed to the opposite in favour of Azerbaijan.

    And for sure, the prime minister, as well as the adequate part of the population of Armenia, has an understanding that in the future there can be no question of any revenge of the Armenians for Karabakh - the country does not have the slightest resources for this and the maximum that it can achieve is a new defeat that could plunge the country into an unbridgeable abyss.

    Therefore, the further and, perhaps, the main task of Pashinyan is to force the Armenian society to accept this reality, thanks to which the long-awaited peace can reign in the region. The near future will show how ready Armenian society is for this turn of events.


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