Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev publicly butted heads over the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict after holding fresh talks in Munich on Saturday.
Aliyev and Pashinian gave no indications of major progress towards the conflict’s resolution when they spoke during a panel discussion at the annual Munich Security Conference.
“Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan, this is the historical truth and ... the territorial integrity is recognized by the whole world, and Nagorno-Karabakh is an integrated part of our country,” Aliyev said.
“Over the past 25 years, 30 years, we are repeating every time the same thing,” responded Pashinian. “And I'm afraid that the international community is tired of hearing the same thing, and I think we need to bring some new ideas.”
Echoing statements by Armenia’s former leaders, Pashinian said that Karabakh had never been part of an independent Azerbaijani state and that its predominantly Armenian population exercised its right to self-determination during the collapse of the Soviet Union. He also called on the international community to “make clear” to Baku that there can be no military solution to the Karabakh conflict
“The international community should first and foremost explain that Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan and, secondly, exert pressure on the aggressor,” countered Aliyev.
The public discussion moderated by a former senior U.S. defense official followed a brief meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders. No details of those talks were immediately made public.
Aliyev and Pashinian met in the southern German city two weeks after their foreign ministers concluded two days of negotiations in Geneva held in the presence of U.S., French and Russian mediators.
In a joint statement with the mediators, the ministers said the “intensive discussions” focused on “possible next steps to prepare the populations for peace; principles and elements forming the basis of a future settlement; and timing and agenda for advancing the settlement process.” They did not elaborate.
An Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the Geneva talks were “the most intensive” in years.