Things have been tense between Armenia and the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) over the past couple of days as Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan once again affirmed his willingness to recognize Artsakh as territory of Azerbaijan, under the condition that they guarantee the rights of the Armenians living there.
Any concession toward Azeri ownership of Artsakh has been widely unpopular amongst the populace of both Armenia proper, and Artsakh. A similar statement was made in September 2022, which saw immediate protest outside of the Armenian parliament building.
PM Pashinyan said that “Armenia recognizes Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity of 86,600 square kilometers, assuming that Azerbaijan recognizes Armenia’s territorial integrity as 29,800 square kilometers”, further adding that the “86,600 square kilometers also includes Nagorno-Karabakh”.
The PM’s words received an unanimous condemnation from Artsakh’s parliament, as well as, after the appeal of Artsakh’s government, condemnation from a number of former President’s and state officials. The Artsakh Parliament’s full statement may be read below:
“THE REPUBLIC OF ARTSAKH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY STATEMENT
The statement made by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, at today’s press conference, in which he reaffirmed his willingness to include Artsakh in Azerbaijan, caused great indignation and anger in the Republic of Artsakh. In fact, with that commitment, Nikol Pashinyan grossly violates the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, particularly the imperative principle of the July 8, 1992 Resolution of the Republic of Armenia Supreme Council which reads “Any international or domestic document, in which the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh is mentioned as part of Azerbaijan, is considered unacceptable for the Republic of Armenia “.
Once again, we reaffirm that the status of Artsakh has already been determined by the popular Declaration of December 10, 1991, and no authority has the right to cancel it.
For us, any statement of Nikol Pashinyan ignoring the sovereignty of the Republic of Artsakh and the right of self-determination of our people, and any document drawn up on its basis, is unacceptable and worthless. Artsakh will never give up its unwavering struggle.
Deeply worried about the existing dangerous reality, the National Assembly of the Republic of Artsakh calls on all Armenians not to allow the current RA authorities to take part in the ceding of the parts of the motherland Armenia – the Republic of Artsakh and the sovereign territories of the Republic of Armenia – to Azerbaijan as enclaves. This will inevitably lead to the loss of the Armenian statehood.
At the same time, we appeal to the former and current presidents of the RA and the Artsakh Republic, calling to condemn the statements made by Nikol Pashinyan on May 22, 2023. Otherwise, we will consider your silence as a sign of agreement with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.”
While the Prime Minister says much of the dialogue and negotiations pertaining to the security of Artsakh’s residents need to happen between Stepanakert (the capital of Artsakh) and Baku, Artsakh has stated a great number of times that they will not accept anything short of self-determination, meanwhile Azerbaijan has stated the Artsakh Armenians can accept Azeri citizenship, or “find another place to live”.
Armenian PM Pashinyan and Azeri President Aliyev will be meeting with Russian President Putin in Moscow on May 25th for a trilateral meeting in order to further discuss peace-processes. While Moscow has stated they expect the meeting to be productive, previous meetings held both in Russia and Western countries have shown very little progress.
Last year (2022) all parties involved stated it was their intention to sign a final peace process by the end of the year. Evidently, this has not happened.