“We have repeatedly stated that we are ready to resolve the issue through mutual concessions,” Pashinian said in a live address to the nation aired on Facebook. “But what we agree to or would agree to is now not acceptable to Azerbaijan, and this shows that it is meaningless to speak of any diplomatic solution at least at this stage.”
He said that Azerbaijan is continuing offensive military operations in and around Karabakh and “throwing its last reserves into the battle” in a bid to defeat the Armenian side. In these circumstances, he said, Armenians have no choice but to keep fighting “until it will be possible to diplomatically achieve some acceptable variant.”
Pashinian went on to urge the heads of Armenian local government bodies, political parties and other groups to form volunteer units that will join troops fighting against the Azerbaijani army on the Karabakh frontlines.
“If this process is organized effectively, we will eventually manage to achieve a diplomatic solution acceptable to us because in essence Azerbaijan is saying today that it will not agree to anything but Karabakh’s capitulation,” added Pashinian.
A senior aide to Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev denounced Pashinian’s remarks, saying they show that Yerevan is not committed to a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict.
“With this statement the leadership of Armenia admits that Armenia’s aim is to maintain the occupation of Azerbaijani territory,” Hikmet Hajiyev told the RIA Novosti news agency.
Hajiyev insisted that Azerbaijan's position on a Karabakh settlement is “constructive.” But he did not clarify whether Baku supports an unconditional halt to the fighting sought by the Russian, U.S., and French mediators.
Pashinian’s appeal came hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held separate talks with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts in Moscow.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the talks focused on the implementation of Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire agreements that were reached earlier this month. A ministry statement described the talks as a follow-up to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “telephone contacts” with Pashinian and Aliyev. It reported no concrete understandings reached by the ministers.
Hostilities along the Karabakh “line of contact” have continued despite the truce agreements brokered by Russia and France. The conflicting parties accuse each other of violating them.
In his remarks, Pashinian praised Russia for “doing its best” to halt the hostilities and revive the Karabakh peace process. Moscow is also fulfilling its role as a “strategic ally of Armenia and the Armenian people,” he stressed.