Armenian prime minister hints at need for referendum

    REGION  17 June 2024 - 18:30

    Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has suggested the possibility of a referendum as part of the ongoing border delimitation process with Azerbaijan.

    During a meeting with residents in the village of Shinuhayr in Syunik Province, Pashinyan emphasized the restoration of the Soviet-era borders between the two countries.

    “It is important to understand correctly – we are not forming a new border with Azerbaijan, we are restoring the borders of Soviet times,” Pashinyan said, according to a report by Caliber.Az citing Armenian media.

    Pashinyan also indicated that future agreements between Armenia and Azerbaijan could involve territorial exchanges subject to public approval. "At some point, Armenia and Azerbaijan may discuss whether we will cede 100 square meters and they—100 square meters; but this should be done through a referendum," he stated.

    The border delimitation process between Armenia and Azerbaijan has seen significant developments. On May 15, the two nations signed a protocol defining the northernmost section of their border. The agreement, reported by Azerbaijan’s state news agency Azertac, was reached during the ninth meeting of the delimitation commissions, chaired by Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev and Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan.

    The protocol pertains to the border segment between Azerbaijan's Gazakh district and Armenia's Tavush region. This section was delineated with reference to the inter-republican borders that existed at the dissolution of the Soviet Union, incorporating geodetic measurements based on a 1976 topographic map of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces.

    Armenia has also agreed to return several villages occupied during the First Karabakh War (1988-1994) to Azerbaijan. This agreement, made on April 19, includes the villages of Baghanis Ayrum, Asagi Askipara, Kheyrimli, and Qizilhajili.

    Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan date back to the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1991, Armenian forces occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a region internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven surrounding districts. Most of these territories were reclaimed by Azerbaijan during the 44-day war in the fall of 2020, which concluded with a Russian-brokered peace agreement facilitating the normalization of relations and border demarcation.

    In September 2023, Azerbaijan established full sovereignty over Karabakh following an "anti-terrorist operation" that led to the surrender of separatist forces in the region.

    Caliber.Az

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