There are a number of institutional issues related to the Russian peacekeeping operation in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), PM Nikol Pashinyan told a cabinet meeting on Thursday.
“In particular, in the third point of the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020, it is clearly stated that there is a contact line in Nagorno Karabakh, along which the Russian peacekeeping forces are deployed. That area is called the zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping troops in Nagorno-Karabakh. And we expect that any attempt to cross the contact line will be stopped by the Russian peacekeeping troops, and the Azerbaijani units inside the contact line will be withdrawn,” he said.
Speaking about the mandate of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh, Pashinyan reiterated that the signatures of Armenia and Russia are sufficient for implementing that mandate in full force.
“And if not, then it is necessary to take measures to establish that mandate internationally, or to endow the peacekeeping mission with a wider international mandate. I don't want to reveal too many working details now, but these issues have been of our concern since November 2020, we have made efforts to reach concrete solutions, and now these efforts must be doubled and tripled,” he said.
Pashinyan claims no matter how much the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020 is criticized, it envisages important security institutions for Artsakh.
“First, the entity of Nagorno-Karabakh was recorded, which Azerbaijan is still trying to deny, saying that Nagorno Karabakh does not exist. By the way, such statements from Azerbaijan are a gross violation of the trilateral declaration,” he said.
“Second, it was recorded, as I said, that there is a line of contact and thirdly, the Lachin corridor, which ensures the connection of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia. In fact, today's struggle of Azerbaijan is against these three institutions, and it is our expectation that, as stipulated by the trilateral declaration, the Russian peacekeeping force will not give Azerbaijan the opportunity to undermine these three institutions recorded in the trilateral declaration.
“Today, Azerbaijan constantly talks about the Defense Army of Nagorno-Karabakh, why they are stationed along the contact line. If the Russian peacekeeping troops and Azerbaijan guarantee the integrity of the contact line, I think the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army will not have the need to carry out combat duty.
“That necessity arose only after Azerbaijan refused to sign the mandate of the peacekeepers and continuously violates the provisions of the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020, including the cessation of all military operations, which is the core point of the above-mentioned document. Azerbaijan also continuously speculates about the presence of Armenian armed forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. I have to officially announce that there are no servicemen of the Republic of Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Pashinyan noted.