RFE/RL Armenian Service – 01/22/2024


Pashinian Ready For More ‘Guarantees’ To Azerbaijan

        • Robert Zargarian
        • Naira Bulghadarian

Russia - Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol 
Pashinian are seen during a visit to the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg, 
December 26, 2023.

Armenia is ready to formally pledge not to have any territorial claims to 
Azerbaijan in the future, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said over the weekend.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev demanded such guarantees in early December, 
saying that an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty would not be enough to preclude 
another war between the two countries. Aliyev did not elaborate on the 
safeguards against Armenian “revanchism” that would satisfy him.

Pashinian was understood to express readiness to meet this demand if Baku 
recognizes Armenia’s territorial integrity through that treaty “without any 

“We expect from Azerbaijan guarantees that Azerbaijan does not want to leave 
grounds, between the lines, for future territorial claims to Armenia,” Pashinian 
told senior members of his party in southeastern Vayots Dzor province. “We want 
such guarantees. But I must also say we are ready to give [Azerbaijan] such 

“This should be a mutual action. It cannot be unilateral for us or for them,” he 

Pashinian made the remarks one day after declaring that Armenia must adopt a new 
constitution reflecting the “new geopolitical environment” in the region. That 
was widely construed as a further indication that he wants to get rid of a 
preamble to the current Armenian constitution enacted in 1995.

The preamble makes reference to a 1990 declaration of independence adopted by 
the republic’s first post-Communist parliament. The declaration in turn refers 
to a 1989 unification act adopted by the legislative bodies of Soviet Armenia 
and the then Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. It also calls for international 
recognition of the 1915 genocide of Armenians “in Ottoman Turkey and Western 

Five lawmakers representing the main opposition Hayastan alliance issued a joint 
statement on Friday night condemning Pashinian’s plans for the new constitution.

“Pashinian is trying to launch a new attack on one of the pillars of the Third 
Republic of Armenia, preparing the ground for meeting another of the nonstop 
Turkish-Azerbaijani demands,” they charged.

Armenia - Opposition deputy Kristine Vartanian speaks during the government's 
question-and-answer session in parliament, April 13, 2022.

“What regional changes have left Armenia needing a change of its constitution?” 
one of those lawmakers, Kristine Vartanian, said. “The biggest change is the 
establishment of Azerbaijani control over Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). 
[Pashinian] is openly telling us that our constitution must also reflect this 

Pashinian recognized Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh months before Baku 
recaptured the region as a result of the September military offensive that 
forced its population to flee to Armenia. The Armenian opposition says the 
recognition paved the way for the assault.

Vartanian and other signatories of the statement were recently allowed by the 
Armenian Foreign Ministry to read Azerbaijani proposals regarding the peace 
treaty currently discussed by the two sides. They said afterwards that Baku is 
seeking the kind of agreement that would leave the door open to future 
territorial claims to Armenia.

Some Armenian officials have made the same claims. Foreign Minister Ararat 
Mirzoyan spoke on January 10 of “some regression” in the Azerbaijani position on 
the treaty.

Earlier this month, Aliyev renewed his demands for Armenia to open an 
extraterritorial corridor to Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave. He also demanded 
Armenian withdrawal from “eight Azerbaijani villages” and again dismissed 
Yerevan’s insistence on using the most recent Soviet maps to delimit the 
Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

Pashinian on January 13 said Aliyev’s demands amount to territorial claims to 
Armenia and accused Baku of undermining prospects for the signing of the peace 
accord. Still, a few days later, he expressed hope that Azerbaijan is committed 
to making peace with Armenia. He went on to make the latest overtures to Baku.

EU Cocerned About Azeri ‘Territorial Claims’ To Armenia

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, right, speaks with Belgium's 
Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib during a meeting of EU foreign ministers in 
Brussels, .

The European Union on Monday expressed serious concern at what its foreign 
policy chief described as territorial claims to Armenia made by Azerbaijani 
President Ilham Aliyev.

“We agreed that Azerbaijan needs to return to substantive peace and 
normalization talks with Armenia,” Josep Borrell said after chairing a meeting 
of the foreign ministers of EU member states that discussed the 
Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict among other issues.

“The latest territorial claims by President Aliyev are very concerning, and any 
violation of Armenia’s territorial integrity would be unacceptable and will have 
severe consequences for our relations with Azerbaijan,” he told a news briefing 
in Brussels.

Earlier this month, Aliyev renewed his demands for Armenia to open an 
extraterritorial corridor to Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave. He also demanded 
Armenian withdrawal from “eight Azerbaijani villages” and again dismissed 
Yerevan’s insistence on using the most recent Soviet maps to delimit the 
Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

Borrell issued the same warning to Baku in November as the EU decided to deploy 
more observers to Armenia’s volatile border with Azerbaijan. The 27-nation bloc 
launched the monitoring mission in February 2023 with the stated aim of 
preventing or reducing ceasefire violations there.

Aliyev twice cancelled talks with Pashinian which the EU planned to host in 
October. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov similarly withdrew from a 
meeting with his Armenian counterpart scheduled for November 20 in Washington. 
Baku accused the Western powers of pro-Armenian bias. It now wants to negotiate 
with Yerevan without third-party mediation.

Government Moves To Allow Minority Rule In Armenia

        • Ruzanna Stepanian

Armenia - Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian chairs a weekly cabinet meeting in 
Yerevan, February 9, 2023.

Armenia’s prime minister and their cabinet should no longer necessarily enjoy 
the backing of the parliamentary majority, according to constitutional reform 
proposed by the country’s Minsitry of Justice.

The current Armenian constitution requires the government to have a “stable 
majority” in the National Assembly, meaning that the prime minister has to be 
backed by most parliament deputies. It envisages a second round of voting in 
cases where up to three parties or blocs fail to form a majority government as a 
result of a general election.

A reform “concept” submitted by the Ministry of Justice to Prime Minister Nikol 
Pashinian’s office earlier this month would the abolish this requirement and 
make it much easier for a political force winning the plurarity of votes to come 
to power. It claims that “stability can cause political and economic stagnation.”

The document obtained by RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Monday proposes two ways 
of forming a minority government. One option is for the largely ceremonial 
president of the republic is to appoint the leader of the political force that 
won most votes but fell short of a parliamentarity majority as prime minister.

Alternatively, the parliament itself would pick the premier through a plurality 
voting system. A similar system is already in place in Yerevan. It enabled 
Pashinian’s Civil Contract party to install its top candidate as mayor following 
municipal elections held in September.

In what is widely considered a serious setback, Civil Contract fell well short 
of an absolute majority in the city council empowered to appoint the mayor. The 
ruling party capitalized on opposition contenders’ failure to quickly agree on a 
common mayoral candidate.

Armenian opposition groups refrained from commenting on this proposed 
arrangement, saying that they have not yet seen the Ministry of Justice 
document. At least some opposition figures are bound to say that Pashinian is 
simply trying to make sure that he can cling to power despite a serious decline 
in his popularity.

Pashinian said Armenia must have a new constitution when met with senior 
Ministry of Justice officials late last week. Commenting on the wisdom of such a 
change, he made no mention of domestic politics and cited instead the need to 
ensure country’s “external security” in the “new geopolitical environment” in 
the region.

Pashinian has repeatedly called for constitutional changes and made conflicting 
statements about them during his nearly six-year rule. Two years ago, he set up 
a new body tasked with coordinating the constitutional reform process. The body 
now headed by Justice Minister Grigor Minasian has still not drafted any 
constitutional amendments. It is not clear whether it approves of the document 
put forward by Minasian’s ministry.

Russian-Armenian Arms Supply Issues ‘Mostly Settled’

        • Shoghik Galstian

Russia - Military vehicles move toward Red Square to attend a Victory Day 
military parade in Moscow, May 9, 2023.

The Armenian Defense Ministry signaled on Monday significant progress in the 
implementation of multimillion-dollar defense contracts signed by Armenia and 
Russia after the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

In a short statement to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service, the ministry said that 
“contentious issues” with Russian arms manufacturers have been “mostly settled.” 
Some of those issues remain unresolved, though, it added without giving any 

The statement did not explicitly refer to the contracts for the delivery of 
Russian weapons worth $400 million, according to Armenian officials. The latter 
repeatedly complained last year that the Armenian military has still not 
received any of those weapons.

Two senior Armenian lawmakers revealed earlier this month that Russia has 
shipped the first batch of that military hardware. But they did not specify the 
types of weaponry commissioned and/or received by Yerevan.

Russia’s ambassador to Armenia, Sergei Kopyrkin, acknowledged late last month 
“issues” in the implementation of Russian-Armenian arms deals. He implied that 
Russian defense companies have not fulfilled their contractual obligations on 
time because of having to manufacture more weapons for the Russian military 
embroiled in the continuing war with Ukraine.

Russia has long been Armenia’s principal supplier of weapons and ammunition. The 
South Caucasus nation has acquired them at domestic Russian prices, set below 
international market-based levels, and even for free.

With no end in sight to the war in Ukraine and tensions between Moscow and 
Yerevan continuing to grow, the Armenian government is increasingly looking for 
other arms suppliers. Since September 2022 it has reportedly signed a number of 
defense contracts with India worth at least $400 million. In October 2023, it 
also signed two arms deals with France.

Reposted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL
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