Official Yerevan has responded to the condemnation by Azerbaijan of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s statement made at an August 5 rally in Stepanakert that “Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh] is Armenia.”
In a statement released late on Tuesday, Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs chided counterparts in Azerbaijan for “being unable to maintain norms of diplomatic ethics” and launching “personalized attacks”. It went on to say that authorities in Baku misunderstood “the context and contents” of Pashinian’s speech that concerned “the promotion of a pan-Armenian agenda of unity, solidarity, development and prosperity of Armenia, Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh] and the [Armenian] Diaspora.”
Armenian’s Foreign Ministry also accused Azerbaijan of ethnic hatred towards Armenians and stated that authorities in Baku “bear immediate responsibility for the creation of dangers to the security and existence of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
“The Republic of Armenia remains the sole guarantor of the Karabakh people’s security, freedom and preservation of its inalienable human rights, including the right to development and self-determination,” the Armenian Ministry said, at the same time reaffirming Armenia’s position that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be settled peacefully.
In condemning Pashinian’s “Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh] is Armenia” remark Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on August 6 that it amounted to a “serious blow” against the negotiation process conducted with the mediation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group.
“Azerbaijan will never put up with the occupation of its territories and will continue its efforts on their liberation and the return of forcibly displaced people to this land that was seized from us,” it added, as quoted by Azerbaijani media.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are locked in a dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated region that has been de-facto independent from Baku after a three-year war in the early 1990s, in which an estimated 30,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced.
Despite a 1994 ceasefire, loss of life has continued in the conflict zone in recurrent border skirmishes and sporadic fighting.
The internationally mediated peace process has so far failed to produce a lasting settlement of the conflict.