Nagorno-Karabakh prepares for long-term presence of Russian peacekeepers
Russian peacekeepers will remain in Nagorno-Karabakh for a long time and guarantee the safety of its inhabitants, state minister of the unrecognized republic Artak Beglaryan has stated during an online press conference. The journalists also paid special attention to his claim that “Artsakh will never be a part of Azerbaijan”.
On July 1, the chairman of the parliamentary commission on foreign relations, member of the ruling My Step faction of the Armenian parliament Ruben Rubinyan also commented on Armenian-Azerbaijani relations. He stated that Armenia will not sign any peace treaty with Azerbaijan – under the pressure of this country, “such a scenario is simply impossible”.
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“I definitely believe that the presence of Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh will not be limited to five years. Time will show what decisions will have to be made […]. But I am sure that we will have Russian peacekeepers for a long time and they will guarantee our security,”, Artak Beglaryan said during a press conference.
In the fall of 2020, the leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan signed a trilateral agreement to end hostilities in Karabakh. According to the document, Russian peacekeepers will be deployed in the conflict region – the territory under the control of Stepanakert. The peacekeepers will, at first, be staying there for five, however, this period will automatically be extended in the absence of objections from either of the parties of the conflict.
He added that the key role in ensuring the safety of residents is also assigned to its army which will increase the level of combat readiness over time.
Earlier the thesis that “Russian peacekeepers should remain in Karabakh as long as possible” was also expressed by the ex-president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Arkady Ghukasyan:
“The situation now is such that, unfortunately, it is difficult to say or predict something about the future. It is obvious, however, that everything must be done to ensure that the Russian peacekeeping forces remain in Karabakh as long as possible”.
“Artsakh will never be part of Azerbaijan”
According to Artak Beglaryan, the main goal right now is the peaceful solution of the Karabakh conflict, but “the authorities of Artsakh and the people of Artsakh will not accept any option of becoming a part of Azerbaijan” Although now the country is in more difficult conditions than in the pre-war period, there is a determination to fight for its rights:
“Our path may appear longer, but, on the other hand, we have additional opportunities, including foreign policy opportunities, to better organize the protection of our right to self-determination”.
The Minister of State believes that the international community will consider the right of the people to self-determination in the context of the settlement of the conflict:
“The principles of territorial integrity and non-use of force have already become obsolete due to the war. The principle of recognition of the right to self-determination remains, the international community and the OSCE Minsk Group are well aware of this. Therefore, we continue to fight in this direction. Of course, Armenia should also make active efforts. We hope that in the near future there will be some progress in this direction”.
Azerbaijani will soon stop using the road through the settlement of Karmir Shuka (Red Bazaar) to the city of Shushi (Shusha, as it is called in Azerbaijan).
According to Artak Beglaryan, incidents often occur here and major clashes can be prevented only thanks to Russian peacekeepers:
“There are manifestations of impudence on the Azerbaijani side, including while moving along the Karmir Shuka-Shushi road, but soon, in a few months, they will no longer use it”.
“Armenia will not sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan”
Armenia will not sign any document with Azerbaijan under pressure, said Ruben Rubinyan, chairman of the parliamentary commission on foreign relations.
Earlier, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov proposed Armenia begin the process of normalizing relations on the basis of inviolability of borders and respect for territorial integrity, relying on the norms and principles of international law.
At the same time, the leadership of Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated that after the war in September-November 2020, the Karabakh conflict “found its solution”.
Responding to this proposal of official Baku, Rubinyan noted that Armenia “will gladly sign a document with Azerbaijan” if Baku recognizes the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, based on the will of its inhabitants. The parliamentarian excludes the scenario in which Armenia signs an agreement with Azerbaijan and “by default” recognizes its territorial integrity.
According to him, there is an international consensus that the issue of the status of Karabakh remains open, and, contrary to the statements of the Azerbaijani authorities, the conflict has not been resolved. This fact, as Ruben Rubinyan emphasized, is recognized by both Russia, the United States, and France – the co-chairing countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, through which peace talks were held before the start of the second Karabakh war.