YEREVAN—The warlike atmosphere established as a result of the harmful actions by the Azerbaijani authorities is what disrupts the negotiations on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Wednesday during a question and answer session at the National Assembly.
The comment was a response to a question from Republican Party of Armenia lawmaker Tajat Vartapetyan who asked Pashinyan to comment on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s claims that Pashinyan “is trying to disrupt the negotiation process with contradicting statements on Nagorno Karabakh.” Aliyev made the statements after Pashinyan, while meeting with the Russian-Armenian business community on Saturday in Moscow, said that he sees Artsakh’s future as part of Armenia.
“I have said on many occasions that I’m ready to participate in negotiations on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict,” added Pashinyan.
The Prime Minister reiterated his position that he is can only speak on behalf of Armenia only. “As Prime Minister of Armenia, I do not consider myself authorized to speak on behalf of Artsakh, because I’m neither the president, nor the prime minister of Artsakh,” said Pashinyan, who has advocated for Artsakh’s return to the negotiating table.
He pointed to the fact that the people of the Republic of Artsakh do not participate in the process of formation of the Armenian authorities. “They hold their own elections, they have their own government, their own president who is qualified to negotiate on behalf of the Artsakh Republic.”
“There is nothing sensational in what I have said, because even the statements of the heads of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries highlight the need for the free expression of will of the Artsakh people for the determination of is final status. This actually comes to reinforce the fact that Artsakh is party to the talks.”
Therefore, he said the issue cannot be solved without the participation of one of the parties.
“We are even ready to participate in negotiations for the sake of negotiations. But we will not come any closer to a resolution of the conflict unless Artsakh’s representatives get involved in the talks.
“Are we negotiating simply for negotiations, or to resolve the conflict? If we are negotiating to resolve the conflict, how do we imagine a solution to the issue without the involvement on of the parties to the conflict? If we are negotiating for negotiations sake, we are ready for this format. However, as long as the necessity of involvement of a representative of the people of Artsakh hasn’t been recorded, it means that we haven’t gotten close to the resolution of the conflict at all,” explained Pashinyan.
Tigran Balayan, the spokesperson for Armenia’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said that he was “surprised” at Aliyev’s comments, which he made during a meeting with OSCE Secretary General Thomas Gremminger.
“I read Aliyev’s statement. I wonder where he has seen contradiction. Mr. Pashinyan has always been very consistent in his statements on the Karabakh issue. Even before being elected he voiced the stance he sticks to today,” Balayan said.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation lawmaker Armine Kiureghyan asked Pashinyan to explain a statement that he made at a rally on August 17, when he said that if there was a viable option for ending the Karabakh conflict he would present it to the people and allow them to decided.
“In that speech I also talked about strengthening the institution of referendums. Naturally, Artsakh’s status should be decided by the expression of will of the people. I think it’s clear that such issues should be solved through nationwide voting. If I and the cabinet think that there is any option that deserved to be presented to the people, the way of doing that is referendum,” Pashinyan explained.