Artsakh’s participation in negotiations is a must, Armenian PM says

Negotiations on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict should proceed within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship with full participation of Artsakh as a party to the talks, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told a press conference in Stepanakert today.

“I’m ready to negotiate with the President of Azerbaijan on behalf of Armenia, but it’s up to the Artsakh authorities in the face of the President to negotiate with the Azerbaijani President on behalf of Artsakh,” Pashinyan said.

We do not refuse from talks with Azerbaijan, but we have to make it clear that we can only present the Republic of Armenia, he added.

Nikol Pashinyan also stressed the importance of correctly presenting the essence of the Karabakh conflict to the international community.

“We have to take renewed efforts in that direction especially after the April war in 2016, when the Azerbaijani armed forces committed harsh atrocities against the poepl of Artsaklh,” the prime Minister said.

According to him, those atrocities reflect the true essence of the Karabakh conflict, as the conflict started when the people of Nagorno Karabakh saw the need to protect themselves from Azerbaijani violence. He stressed that the Karabakh conflict is not a territorial issue.

Pashinyan stressed that while the Armenian sides have always stood for the peaceful settlement of the conflict, he Azerbaijani side periodically comes forth with bellicose rhetoric.

He added that speaking about any concessions is senseless, as long as there is no message from Azerbaijan about the readiness to recognize the right of the Artsakh people to self-determination.

Nikol Pashinyan emphasized the importance of implementing an investigation mechanism at the line of contact, an agreement on which had been reached at a meeting in Vienna in 2016. He pledged Armenia’s willingness to immediately create the mechanism and sees it as an important tool to determine which of the parties is taking non-constructive steps and violating the ceasefire.

Asked about the possible unification of Armenia and Artsakh, the Prime Minister said the issue can be determined through an expression of will of the people in the two countries after Artsakh is recognized internationally.

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