Official Baku has criticized Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian over his latest statement in Moscow concerning the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region disputed by Armenians and Azerbaijan.
At a meeting with ethnic Armenian businessmen in Moscow on September 8 Pashinian was asked to present his vision of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“As I have said before, [in the future] I see Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh] as part of Armenia, and the path towards this status may consist of more steps than one. It may consist of two or three steps, but our vision of the future is definitely this. And there can be no doubt about that,” Pashinian said.
According a spokesman for Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, such statements damage the internationally-mediated negotiation process conducted to determine the status of the disputed region.
“The Armenian leadership, whether purposefully or through ignorance, makes a statement leading towards tensions and does it in a country that co-chairs the [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s] Minsk Group ahead of a meeting of the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan planned in New York. Once again we want to emphasize that such statements put the whole responsibility for the escalation of the situation on Armenia and its leadership,” the Azerbaijani official, Hikmat Haciyev, said on Sunday.
Speaking in the Armenian town of Ijevan upon his return from Moscow on Sunday, Prime Minister Pashinian said that Putin did not offer to organize an Armenian-Azerbaijani summit. “We talked about the situation that has been created around the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem and about the context, and we both emphasized that it should be a very clear message that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict cannot be solved in any way other than a peaceful way and that any military provocation will meet with a strong attitude,” said Pashinian.