“The peace agenda does not mean the 'peaceful extermination' of Armenians” - Pashinyan
Pashinyan’s reaction to Aliyev’s speech
“The President of Azerbaijan is trying, under the pretext of Armenia’s failure to fulfill its obligations, to create fictitious grounds for closing the Lachin corridor, blockade the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh in order to subject them to genocide and deprive them of their homeland,” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said.
The Prime Minister of Armenia believes that “the global energy agenda has inspired the President of Azerbaijan, but it is time for the international community to jointly take concrete measures in connection with the behavior of Azerbaijan, which has become a growing threat to peace, stability, security and democracy in the region.”
The Prime Minister vowed that Armenia will make every effort to complete the delimitation as soon as possible, unblock regional roads, and sign a peace agreement with Azerbaijan, as “it is truly and sincerely committed to the peace agenda.”
“But if someone thinks that the peace agenda implies the “peaceful destruction” of the Armenians of Armenia or Nagorno-Karabakh, then they are gravely mistaken. The peace agenda is the peaceful development and coexistence of the Republic of Armenia and the region, and we will achieve our goal,” Pashinyan stressed.
The main points of Pashinyan’s speech.
- “What will happen next, life will show” – Ilham Aliyev on the situation in the negotiations with Armenia
“Azerbaijan’s violations are chronic”
This is how Pashinyan referred to Azerbaijan’s violations of the statements and agreements reached in the trilateral and other formats and cited the following facts in support of his words:
- illegal occupation of the settlements of In Tager and Khtsaberd, as well as the adjacent territories of Nagorno-Karabakh in December 2020;
- the March 2022 invasion of the zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, which the President of Azerbaijan proudly called “Operation Farukh” in his last speech;
- daily ceasefire violations;
- denial of the existence of Nagorno-Karabakh, while in the tripartite statement of November 9, 2020 on the cessation of hostilities, it is mentioned four times;
- refusal to take steps to start a visible dialogue for the international community with the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh;
- failure to create conditions for the safe return of thousands of residents of Hadrut and other Armenian-populated regions of Nagorno-Karabakh;
- preventing the entry of UN representatives, in particular the office of the High Commissioner for Refugees in NK;
- failure to comply with the provision on the exchange of prisoners of war, hostages and other detainees and keeping them under arrest in Baku.
“These and a number of similar actions and statements make it obvious that Aliyev is not only threatening, but is already preparing the genocide of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh,” the Prime Minister said.
According to him, this is also borne out by talk “about the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers without clear international guarantees of the security and rights of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.” Aliyev’s comments on the timing of the deployment of Russian peacekeeping forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, according to Pashinyan, are a gross violation of at least three statements adopted in the trilateral format.
“If you pay attention to the speeches of the President of Azerbaijan, he essentially threatens everyone: Russia, the United States of America, France, Iran, the European Union. Azerbaijan also continues to impede the process of normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey, which, undoubtedly, could contribute to regional stability,” Pashinyan said.
“Peacekeepers deployed indefinitely”
According to Pashinyan, the tripartite statement dated November 9, 2020 states that the peacekeepers are deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh for a period of 5 years with an automatic extension for the next five years.
According to a tripartite statement dated November 9, 2020, the five-year term will be automatically extended unless one of the parties objects to it six months before the expiration of the term.
“In essence, this means that the peacekeepers are in Nagorno-Karabakh for an indefinite period until all issues related to the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh are resolved,” Pashinyan said.
The Prime Minister of Armenia recalled that the President of Azerbaijan personally recognized the “important contribution” of the peacekeepers to ensuring security and stability in the zone of deployment of the peacekeepers, which is stated in the tripartite statements dated November 26, 2021 and October 31, 2022, signed by Ilham Aliyev.
“Moreover, he recognized the need for further efforts by peacekeepers to stabilize the situation in the region,” Pashinyan added.
“There is no Armenian army in Nagorno-Karabakh”
After this statement, Pashinyan said that there is only the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army, which is a “serious obstacle” to the genocide planned by Azerbaijan.
According to him, on October 6 in Prague he suggested that Aliyev send an observation mission to Nagorno-Karabakh to clarify all details on this issue. But Azerbaijan rejected this proposal:
“In my perception, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh have an army only and only because of the danger of being subjected to genocide.”
According to the prime minister, during a trilateral meeting in Sochi he proposed the creation of a demilitarized zone around Nagorno-Karabakh with international guarantees, as a result of which “Nagorno-Karabakh will not need to have a defense army of this magnitude.” He says the offer still stands:
“We have made and are making a proposal on demilitarization and on part of the border zone between Armenia and Azerbaijan, proposing to withdraw troops from the confirmed border of 1991, creating a 3-kilometer demilitarized zone on both sides of the border. This proposal remains in effect, and the day before we gave Azerbaijan the updated version.”
“The alienation of sovereign functions is out of the question”
Pashinyan says that Azerbaijan is also engaging in manipulative discourse around the Lachin corridor, trying to draw parallels between it and the unblocking of transport routes in the region, such as the road demanded by Azerbaijan, calling it the “Zangezur Corridor.” Pashinyan argues that the jointly adopted regulations “leave no room for such parallels.”
He emphasizes that in the November 9 statement there is no mention of control over the sovereign territory of Armenia or the alienation of any sovereign function.
Pashinyan believes that this statement should be understood as agreements, because “there are no others.”
The Prime Minister said that the provision of a Azerbaijan-Nakhichevan connection is part of the unblocking process, and Armenia has always been ready and is now also ready to provide such an opportunity. He recalled that it was for this purpose that his government put into circulation a draft resolution on the establishment of checkpoints on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
“This decision is not made for only one reason: Azerbaijan does not want this road. This means that Armenia is fulfilling its obligation, and Azerbaijan does not want to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Speaking of the construction of a new route, Pashinyan said that the statement of November 9, 2020 provides for such a possibility “if the parties agree”:
“Armenia is ready to give its consent. And there is no agreement for only one reason: Azerbaijan continues its aggressive rhetoric and actions contrary to the agreements reached and signed statements.”
The head of government recalled that on December 14, 2021, in Brussels, in the presence of the head of the European Council Charles Michel, the President of Azerbaijan agreed to start the restoration of the Yeraskh-Ordubad-Meghri-Horadiz railway. However, a few days later he refused to sign a document confirming this agreement.
“Ready to submit a new proposal”
Pashinyan said that in December 2021 Armenia submitted a “proposal for the construction of new roads” and sent it to Azerbaijan:
“In the near future we will present a new proposal on this issue. Moreover, we have an additional, backup proposal on this topic.”
Why is Azerbaijan leading the process to a dead end?
According to the Prime Minister of Armenia, Ilham Aliyev violates
- the agreement on a comprehensive solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, reached in December 2021 in Brussels,
- the option of postponing indefinitely the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, this agreement having been reached in November 2020 through the mediation of the President of Russia,
- an agreement according to which the border demarcation process between Armenia and Azerbaijan should take place in conditions of ensuring border security and exclude any escalation (Sochi, November 26, 2021),
- an agreement on a mirror withdrawal of troops in the most dangerous sections of the border, (Brussels, December 2021).
“And why does he do this, why does Azerbaijan lead the process to a dead end every time? To continue their aggressive policy of genocide,” Pashinyan said.
“Respect for the Islamic religion and civilization is undeniable”
The head of government recalled the actions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, which illuminated the towns of Nagorno-Karabakh with searchlights at night, threatening residents and urging them to leave their homes, including calls for Islamic prayer through very powerful azan speakers, accompanying by shots. According to him, “now the authors of such practices want to accuse Armenia” of disrespect of Islam:
“Meanwhile, our respect for the Islamic religion and Islamic civilization is undeniable. The Republic of Armenia and the Armenian people are bound by fraternal feelings and partnership relations with dozens of Islamic countries and peoples. But Azerbaijan, with its aforementioned actions, resembles al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, which discredit Islam.”
Pashinyan’s reaction to Aliyev’s speech