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Armenian Opposition Calls Border Demarcation With Azerbaijan ‘Premature’


Head of the parliamentary opposition Hayastan faction Seyran Ohanian (file photo)

Armenia’s parliamentary opposition has claimed that a border delimitation and demarcation process with Azerbaijan that may begin soon is “hasty and premature.”

Speaking during parliamentary hearings on the matter initiated by the opposition Hayastan faction, head of the faction Seyran Ohanian insisted that there is no proper environment for starting such a process at the moment.

The parliament’s opposition initiated the discussions after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian announced last week that Armenia had accepted new proposals from Russia on the “preparatory stage” for delimitating and demarcating its Soviet-era border with Azerbaijan.

The announcement was made just two days after Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of provoking a major border incident in which at least seven Azerbaijani and six Armenian soldiers were killed.

The worst Armenian-Azerbaijani fighting since last year’s 44-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh was also stopped through Russia’s mediation.

Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of occupying 41 square kilometers of its sovereign territory since May. Baku denies its troops entered Armenian territory after advancing towards the border with Armenia as a result of regaining control of territories in the Nagorno-Karabakh war.

In his remarks at the hearings in parliament not attended by the pro-government majority Ohanian claimed that the “demarcation” of the borders has been done through incidents like the latest one resulting in loss of life.

“In fact border demarcation is taking place unilaterally. It is being done at the cost of Armenian soldiers’ blood,” the Hayastan faction’s head claimed.

“None of the representatives of the top leadership have given any explanation as to why the one-day war took place, what followed and preceded it. The fact is that we suffered casualties and had captives taken by Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan entered the sovereign territory of Armenia. That is, a border demarcation took place at the cost of blood,” he added.

Ohanian called the planned talks on border demarcation as a ‘Turkish-Azerbaijani’ trap for Yerevan and accused the Armenian government of going along with this process. He also claimed that by ceding strategic heights, roads and borderline areas the current Armenian government “has nullified the country’s security potential.”

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian is due to travel to the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on November 26 for talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev that will be hosted by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

The issue of border delimitation and demarcation is likely to be addressed during the talks.

Armenia’s opposition fears that the trilateral meeting may result in the signing of a border-related document not favorable for Armenia.

During an online press conference on Tuesday Pashinian said, however, that if any document is to be signed at any upcoming meeting, it will only be about forming a commission that will deal with border delimitation and demarcation work and will not predetermine the outcome of the process itself.

In his public statements Pashinian has also acknowledged the security challenges facing Armenia. Talking about the current processes around Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia Pashinian has said on several occasions that “we are going through a minefield and must be very cautious.”

Some representatives of extra-parliamentary parties participating in today’s parliamentary hearings even suggested that they stay put in parliament until Pashinian returns from Sochi and presents what he discussed there.

Deputy Parliament Speaker Ishkhan Saghatelian, who represents the Hayastan faction, said that the opposition was committed to continuing its struggle both in parliament and in the street. He said that now they urge the government “to refrain from any negotiations, written or oral agreements, that would violate the requirements of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia and the collective will of the Armenian people expressed in the [1990] Declaration of Independence.”

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