"Everything depends on Moscow and Baku" - the opinion of an Armenian political scientist on the future of Nagorno-Karabakh
Signing a document with Azerbaijan on NK
“The Armenian authorities confirmed that signing a document with Azerbaijan on NK would not happen without consulting with the authorities of Artsakh and the Armenian people,” President of the unrecognized NKR, Arayik Harutyunyan, wrote on his Facebook page.
The day before, Prime Minister Pashinyan said in parliament that the ruling party would sign an agreement that will provide Armenia with “an area of 29,800 square kilometers of stable peace and security.” He added that they are ready to take this step even if they are called traitors. The prime minister’s statement was perceived by the public as a rejection of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Immediately after Pashinyan’s speech, protests began in Yerevan and NK. Arayik Harutyunyan reiterated the position of Nagorno-Karabakh: “All documents that can recognize Artsakh as a part of Azerbaijan are unacceptable.”
Political scientist Garik Keryan believes that the document that Pashinyan hinted at is a peace treaty with Azerbaijan. According to him, Baku is waiting for the signing of a peace agreement with recognition of its territorial integrity, including NK, and this “can be interpreted as a refusal on the part of Armenia to recognize Karabakh as Armenian land.”
Thousands of people took to the streets on September 14. There was even an attempt to break into the building of the National Assembly of Armenia. The ruling party had to come up with explanations, including the prime minister himself. Pashinyan stated that no documents have been signed and are not being prepared for signing. He promised that any document would be submitted for public discussion.
The reaction to Pashinyan’s statement in Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as the opinion of a political scientist.
“Artsakh cannot and should not be part of Azerbaijan”
After Pashinyan’s speech in parliament, the president of the unrecognized NKR published two Facebook posts an hour apart. He did not refer to the prime minister’s statement, but it was obvious to whom Arayik Harutyunyan was responding.
In his first post, he wrote that any document recognizing NK as part of Azerbaijan is simply unacceptable:
“Artsakh cannot and should not be part of Azerbaijan, because, firstly, the people of Artsakh decide their own fate in their homeland, and secondly, we cannot allow genocide and the expulsion of the people from their homeland.”
In the second post, Harutyunyan claimed there is not even a draft of any document, emphasizing that they have an agreement with official Yerevan:
“In any document to be signed, the interests and opinion of the people of the Republic of Artsakh must be taken into account.”
“No document is being discussed at this stage”
On September 15, the day after heated discussions and protests, a delegation of the NK National Assembly and President Arayik Harutyunyan arrived in Yerevan.
It was reported that the purpose of the delegation’s visit was to conduct “political consultations” with the Armenian authorities.
“At this stage, not a single document related to the status of Artsakh is being discussed. The Armenian authorities confirmed that no document would be signed without consulting with Artsakh and the Armenian public,” Harutyunyan wrote after participating in a meeting of the Security Council of Armenia.
The government of Armenia reported that at the expanded meeting of the Security Council they discussed:
- the situation created as a result of Azerbaijani aggression,
- steps taken to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Armenia.
- the current state of the negotiations on a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
According to political scientist Garik Keryan, Nagorno-Karabakh is at grave risk after Armenia’s defeat in the second Karabakh war.
“The risk is that Azerbaijan may expel Armenians from Karabakh. This is not connected with the signing or non-signing of any document; everything depends on Russia-Azerbaijan relations,” he told JAMnews.
Keryan believes that if Moscow decides to withdraw its troops in two years, when the deadline for the peacekeeping contingent ends, Karabakh will no longer have any security guarantees.
The political scientist connects the document mentioned in Pashinyan’s statement with the peace treaty and Azerbaijan’s expectation of recognition of its territorial integrity, including NK:
“This can be interpreted as a refusal on the part of Armenia to recognize Karabakh as Armenian land. But at the same time, whether it will be safe or dangerous there, whether the Armenians will remain there or not, depends only on the presence of peacekeepers. Armenia is no longer the guarantor Nagorno-Karabakh’s security.”
According to Keryan, there are two unacceptable points in Baku’s proposals for a peace treaty:
- Armenia must recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, including Nagorno-Karabakh,
- under the wording of recognition of mutual territorial integrity, Azerbaijan would take possession of enclaves located on the territory of Armenia, which were once “administrative units of Azerbaijan.”
“And therein lies the danger. Recognition of territorial integrity may lead to the exclusion of enclave villages from Armenia, and these are of strategic importance for our country. Tigranashen is on the road towards the southern border of Armenia, towards Syunik, and the Noyemberyan enclaves are on the way towards Georgia, the northern border of Armenia. Azerbaijan can block these roads, and Armenia will be blockaded from the north and south,” the political scientist said.
“No one is ready to lighten Russia's burden”: on the Russian peacekeeper mandate in Nagorno-Karabakh
Protests in Yerevan demanding the protection of NK, the Kremlin’s reaction to Pashinyan’s statements on peacekeepers, an explanation from the ruling party of Armenia about what it meant, and an expert’s comments
Signing a document with Azerbaijan on NK