Armenpress: PM Pashinyan comments on delay in Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 11, ARMENPRESS. The architecture and principles of the peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan have been agreed upon but Azerbaijan has been refusing to participle in negotiations, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan has said in an interview with The Telegraph when asked on the Armenian-Azeri talks and why the process is delayed.

“First of all, it should be noted that the principles of peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan have been agreed upon in three international formats. The first took place in 2022. On October 6, during the quadrilateral meeting held in Prague, which was attended by the President of France Emmanuel Macron, the President of the European Council Charles Michel, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and me, and we, after long discussions, adopted a joint statement in which the following principle is recorded: Armenia and Azerbaijan recognize each other's territorial integrity based on the 1991 Declaration of Alma-Ata.

“What does this mean? The Declaration of Alma-Ata is about the following and it was signed by 12 republics that were part of the Soviet Union. By signing that declaration, they recorded several things. First, the Soviet Union ceases to exist and these republics, becoming sovereign states, recognize each other's territorial integrity, inviolability of borders and sovereignty. And thus, with the Alma-Ata declaration, the existing administrative borders between the republics of the Soviet Union become state borders. I say this because it is recorded in the Alma-Ata declaration that these republics accept the existing borders, that is, whatever border existed at that moment, they recognize the inviolability of those borders.

“And of course, there is a very important nuance here that I want to emphasize, the Alma-Ata declaration and the packages related to the Declaration were ratified by the Armenian parliament in 1992, the Azerbaijani parliament ratified it later. Many events took place after the signing and ratification, but in this context it is very important to record that in Prague on October 6, in the presence of the President of France and the President of the European Council, Armenia and Azerbaijan, in fact, after all those events, reaffirmed that they recognize each other's territorial integrity on the basis of the Alma-Ata Declaration.

“And the second important point is that the Alma-Ata declaration should become the basis for the demarcation and delimitation of the borders between the two countries. This is also a very important principle, which in this context means that in the process of demarcation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, no border has to be created, but the borders confirmed and reaffirmed by the Alma-Ata declaration should be expressed on the ground, on maps.

“This is the first fundamental agreement. After that, on October 30, the trilateral statement of the President of Russia, the President of Azerbaijan and myself was signed, in which Armenia and Azerbaijan acknowledged in a written statement that they recognize each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty and declare that they refuse to use force and the threat of force, and all issues will be resolved through negotiation. This agreement also became the basis for the formation and formulation of the third fundamental principle, which means that the opening and unblocking of regional communications, and the opening of roads for each other will take place within the framework of respect for the sovereignty and jurisdiction of countries, and this principle, together with the previous two principles, was recorded based on the results of the trilateral meetings held in Brussels on May 14 and July 15. Moreover, everything I'm talking about are public documents.

“What does all this have to do with your question? And the connection is that, essentially, the architecture and principles of the peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan have been agreed upon, and at the end of last year it seemed to us that we were very close to finally agreeing on the text of the final treaty, but from the beginning, Azerbaijan three times refused to participate in negotiations in different formats, after which presidential elections in Azerbaijan were scheduled. And, in fact, we are still on this point, and I assume that after the presidential elections, we will be able to achieve implementation of these points, if there is political will. I can record that the Armenian government, as before, has the political will to precisely go for peace in our region and to sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan based on the above-mentioned agreements,” Pashinyan said.

“…the fact that we have lost so much time is not a very positive sign, because you see, on June 1, a five-party meeting was held in Chișinău with the participation of the President of France, the Chancellor of Germany, the President of the European Council, the President of Azerbaijan and me, and where an agreement was formulated and it was published in a written form that the next meeting in that same format would take place in Granada in autumn 2023. But Azerbaijan, in fact, refused to participate in that meeting, where in that context it was formulated that the next meeting would take place at the end of October, in Brussels, in a trilateral format. Azerbaijan again refused to participate in that meeting. And if we add to this the events that took place in Nagorno Karabakh, first military strikes were carried out against Nagorno Karabakh and, in fact, Nagorno Karabakh was completely depopulated as a result of ethnic cleansing,” Pashinyan added, emphasizing that “when we put these events side by side, in Armenia, for example, there are analysts who believe that all this means that Azerbaijan is retreating step by step and abandoning the agreements reached on international platforms and between us.”