Pashinian meets with Aliyev, ready to hand over Artsakh to Azerbaijan

Pashinian meets with Aliyev, ready to hand over Artsakh to Azerbaijan

Representatives of the opposition minority in Armenia’s parliament expressed concern on Thursday over the outcome of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s latest talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, saying that it may herald far-reaching Armenian concessions to Baku.

Azatutyun.AM – Meeting in Brussels late on Wednesday, Aliyev and Pashinian agreed to start preparing for an Armenian-Azerbaijani “peace treaty” and to set up a bilateral commission tasked with demarcating the border between their countries.

European Council President Charles Michel described the four-hour talks hosted by him as “productive,” saying that they yielded “concrete and tangible results.”

Lawmakers representing Armenia’s two main opposition alliances pointed out that Michel made no mention of Nagorno-Karabakh, let alone an agreement on its status or the Karabakh Armenians’ right to self-determination. They portrayed this as a further sign that Pashinian is ready to help Azerbaijan regain control over the disputed territory.

“Why are these authorities carrying on with that behavior? For the sake of what?” said Aram Vartevanian of the Hayastan alliance.

Vartevanian stood by opposition allegations that Pashinian is preparing the ground for further concessions to Baku by scaring Armenians with the prospect of another war with Azerbaijan.

“War is not the only alternative to this disgraceful situation,” he said. “Just because there is a possibility of war doesn’t mean that you must act meekly and cowardly. That’s not how things work.”

Hayastan and the other opposition bloc, Pativ Unem, rallied thousands of supporters in Yerevan on Tuesday to warn Pashinian against recognizing Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh.

Belgium – Charles Michel, Nikol Pashinian and Ilham Aliyev begin a trilateral meeting in Brussels, April 6, 2022.

Pashinian confirmed on Thursday that he and Aliyev agreed to instruct their foreign ministers to prepare for official negotiations on the peace treaty. He reiterated that Baku’s proposals on the treaty, including mutual recognition of each other’s territorial integrity, are acceptable to Yerevan but must be complemented with other “issues of the peace agenda,” including Karabakh’s future status and “security guarantees for the people of Karabakh.”

“These issues are included in our responses regarding the peace agenda and must become a subject of negotiations,” he said during a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan.

Pashinian also said the OSCE Minsk Group co-headed by the United States, Russia and France should continue to mediate Armenian-Azerbaijani talks. “We need to continue working in that direction,” he said.

Michel did not mention the Minsk Group either in his comments on the Brussels talks and planned negotiations on the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal.

Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry described the Armenian-Azerbaijani summit as an “important step for regional security.” It said Aliyev’s understandings with Pashinian fully correspond to Azerbaijan’s interests.

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