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EU Envoy Hails Pashinian’s ‘Positive’ Comments On Azerbaijan


Armenia - Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian meets the representative of the French Presidency to the Council of the European Union, Isabelle Dumont, and the EU's special representative to the South Caucasus Toivo Klaar, January 21, 2022.

A senior European Union diplomat on Wednesday praised Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian for sticking to conciliatory rhetoric and stressing the importance of normalizing Armenia’s relations with Azerbaijan.

Toivo Klaar, the EU’s special representative for the South Caucasus, reacted to Pashinian’s televised interview aired on Monday.

“I was pleased to see several positive and forward-looking remarks in the interview given by Prime Minister Pashinian on January 24, 2022, in particular on his vision for the future of the region, normalization of relations between neighbors and conflict-related rhetoric of the 1990s,” Klaar told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

“A lot more needs to be done by the sides when it comes to dealing with the past and the legacy of conflict,” he said in written comments. “This is indeed a long but certainly a crucial process that needs to involve the societies on both sides.”

In his interview, Pashinian avoided condemning Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s bellicose statements directed at Armenia and claims that Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2020 war put an end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and that Yerevan and other parts of the country are “historical Azerbaijani lands.”

Pashinian drew parallels between Aliyev’s aggressive rhetoric and statements made by politicians in Armenia and Karabakh after the Armenian victory in the first Karabakh war.

“Statements frequently voiced from Azerbaijan mirror statements that were made in Armenia after 1994 … Those statements [by Aliyev] contain a certain element of revenge and we must take this into account,” he said.

Pashinian also reaffirmed strong support for opening transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan. They will contribute to regional peace and earn Armenia economic benefits, he said.

Klaar and a senior French diplomat visited Baku and Yerevan last week to discuss with the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders ongoing efforts to de-escalate tensions along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

The EU envoy reiterated on Wednesday that he is satisfied with the results of the talks. But he did not go into details.

“Our discussions last week were positive and we are looking forward to continuing our engagement with the sides to help them build a safe, stable and prosperous South Caucasus,” he said.

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