YEREVAN (Yerkir)—The urgency to resettle the liberated territories surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was a topic of heated discussion Thursday during a weekly parliamentary roundtable with Armenia’s Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan.
Discussion on the issue began when Vahan Hovanessian, the leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s parliamentary bloc, asked the Prime Minister about the status of resettlement efforts in the liberated territories. Hovanessian emphasized that the absence of Armenian residents in that area was “widening the appetites of Turkey and Azerbaijan” as talks to normalize relations with Ankara continue.
In response, Sargsyan reiterated the oft-repeated position of the Armenian authorities that Turkey-Armenia discussions were advancing without preconditions.
Sargsyan, however, said that any agreement would require the parliament’s approval before being implemented. “This process is going to be a public one,” he said, referring to the “roadmap” agreement. “We will defend our principles.”
“Naturally, we have to be more active and we can never forget the Genocide issue and other matters related to the Armenian Cause,” added Sargsyan.
The prime minister insisted that Karabakh will always be an important priority in Armenia’s economic, foreign and domestic policies and as a result the economic development of Karabakh will always be part of Armenia’s governmental programs.
“The development of all facets of [life] Karabakh should be accelerated, in order to create more enhanced living and growth conditions,” said Sargsyan, adding that the resettlement issue was a constant topic of discussion with the Karabakh president and prime minister.
Hovenessian expressed hope that the prime minister’s statements would become reality in the near future. He also suggested the government adopt two approaches to the Armenia-Turkey process, namely for Yerevan to insist that instead of discussing a possible opening of the border, Armenia should discuss offering a corridor to Turkey, since when discussing the border issue, Turkey always considers the current borders.
Hovanessian also emphasized the importance of a timeline in these talks, citing the president’s own statements that this process cannot last for years.
“How long is this process going to last? Until the soccer match? Or, do we have to wait for Erdogan to make an announcement in Yerevan that they have preconditions, which is the Karabakh issue,” said Hovanessian.