PM Pashinyan: “Any alternative to peace will be disastrous - both for NK and Armenia”
Pashinyan’s address to the Armenian Parliament
“According to the negotiation logic we inherited, Nagorno-Karabakh could not get a status outside of Azerbaijan without the consent of Azerbaijan. It was this “legacy” that became the basis and reason for starting the war”, the Prime Minister of Armenia said, speaking in parliament.
Nikol Pashinyan believes that the only guarantee of the state’s security is “comprehensive peace”, that is, the “peace agenda” that his government is implementing.
“Any alternative will be disastrous – both for Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. And, of course, we cannot allow this to happen”, he said.
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Pashinyan stressed that the opposition has been declaring for the past year that:
- the government of Armenia ignored the issue of NK,
- the Armenian authorities should have pursued the “Artsakh will never be part of Azerbaijan” policy, and the refusal to accept this approach is a betrayal on the Karabakh issue.
According to the Armenian prime minister, the first thesis is refuted by the budget indicators. In 2021, Armenia’s assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh increased by 122% compared to 2019.
As for the second question, according to Pashinyan, the current opposition itself was not guided by the principle “Artsakh will never be part of Azerbaijan” when it was in power. The prime minister claims that both former presidents of Armenia, who are now leaders of the radical Armenian opposition, recognized NK as part of Azerbaijan.
In his speech, he responded at length to the accusations of the opposition and gave reasons for his claims.
“We were, are and always will be close to Artsakh”
According to Nikol Pashinyan, in 2021-22, the budget support for the unrecognized NKR from the Armenian government was unprecedented:
“Armenia’s support for Artsakh in 2021 increased by 122%, the budget of Artsakh as a whole increased by 48%”.
The prime minister said that last year Artsakh’s budget was the largest in its history. 73% of the budget was allocated by the Armenian government:
“In 2021, financial injections from the Armenian government into the budget of Artsakh were larger than the entire budget of Artsakh for 2019”.
Nikol Pashinyan also recalled the provision of salaries to NK civil servants, the payment of pensions and benefits to the population, reimbursement of utility bills, already implemented and ongoing programs, including housing construction.
The prime minister stressed that the government does not see the need to “scream” about it – his government just did their job:
“The Armenian government was, is and will be close to Artsakh, even if some circles do not notice it”.
“Absolute lie”: on opposition’s accusations
According to Pashinyan, the oppositionists, who themselves were in power in 1998-2018, are now simply trying to sow discord between NK and Armenia. The former leaders insist that, unlike the current government, they were guided by the principle “Artsakh will never be part of Azerbaijan”:
“These statements are absolute lies, because throughout the entire negotiation process, both Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan, and their political satellite in the form of the Dashnaktsutyun party, recognized Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan.
Pashinyan gave the following justifications for his statements:
- On November 25, 1998, the Armenian authorities, headed by Robert Kocharyan, agreed to accept the proposal on a “common state” presented by the co-chairs as the basis for negotiations. It stated in particular:
- “Nagorno-Karabakh is a state-territorial formation of a republican type and, together with Azerbaijan, forms a common state within its internationally recognized borders”.
- “Citizens of Nagorno-Karabakh will have an Azerbaijani passport with a special mark – Nagorno-Karabakh as an identity card”.
- The proposal for a “common state” was followed by a package of proposals for the exchange of territories, which assumed: “Armenia transfers the Meghri region to Azerbaijan, and in return receives NK.”
According to the Prime Minister, having accepted the mentioned proposals as a basis for negotiations, the former Armenian authorities “recognized Artsakh as a part of Azerbaijan” or at least “did not rule out that Artsakh could be a part of Azerbaijan”.
- Pashinyan repeated his statement about another proposal for the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, the so-called Madrid principles. He claims that by accepting them, the current authorities “ruled out any practical possibility of Artsakh being outside the borders of Azerbaijan”.
“According to the negotiation logic inherited by us, Nagorno-Karabakh could not get a status outside of Azerbaijan without the consent of Azerbaijan, including an intermediate one”, the prime minister said.
He added that it was this “legacy” that became the basis and reason for the outbreak of the 2020 war.
“The conversation is not about the past, but about the future”
Pashinyan said that all this information about how the negotiation process took place at one time is not a conversation about the past, but about the future. He assured that his government does not intend to lie just to stay in power, because his team must tell people the truth.
In this regard, the prime minister intends to level “the gap between the content of the negotiations and the content of the conversation with the public”.
Pashinyan believes that conclusions should be drawn from past, and the current government has already come to them.
Accordingly, the current concept of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is based on the guarantees and security rights of the Armenians living in this territory, from which the determination of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh follows.
That is, the status of NK is considered not as a goal, but as a means of ensuring the security, rights and freedoms of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.
“This wording is understandable to the international community, it makes our goals and the essence of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict more understandable. There is another important point that needs to be fixed: any status that really guarantees the security, rights and freedoms of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh should be considered an [acceptable] solution for us”, Pashinyan stressed.
According to the Prime Minister, in the current geopolitical situation, there are no guarantees for the preservation of either large or small states. The only guarantee of the existence of the state, its security, he considers “comprehensive peace”.
And this, according to Nikol Pashinyan, is a situation where issues with neighbors have been resolved, delimitation and demarcation of borders have been carried out, peace has been secured de jure.
“We are trying to follow this path now. Can we succeed? No one can guarantee that, because peace is not a one-way street, but the result of cooperation.
We have no illusions, we see that the number of those who want to destroy us is greater than could be expected. The peace agenda is an attempt to control and neutralize these desires to destroy us”, he said.
The Prime Minister assures that his government has the will and determination to follow this path. He argues that “the other way is unacceptable” because it will lead to the destruction of both Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
Pashinyan’s speech in the Armenian Parliament