European Council President Charles Michel will host the talks following deadly fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh that resulted from an Azerbaijani incursion into a local village and surrounding territory.
“Certainly the background preceding this meeting is not the best one, to put it mildly,” said Eduard Aghajanian, the chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on foreign relations and a senior member of Pashinian’s Civil Contract party.
“Very painful and thorny issues need to be raised at that meeting, and the parties will try to iron out those thorny points and move forward, which won’t be easy, to put it mildly,” Aghajanian added without elaborating.
Pashinian’s administration, he went on, remains committed to its “peace agenda.” “The Armenian side stands for the establishment of peace, and we are not going to abandon a diplomatic solution to the problem under any circumstances,” he said.
The Brussels talks are expected to focus on an Armenian-Azerbaijani “peace treaty” sought by Azerbaijan. Baku wants the treaty to be based on five elements, including a mutual recognition of each other’s territorial integrity. Pashinian has publicly stated that they are acceptable to Yerevan in principle.
This has been construed by Armenian opposition leaders and other critics as a further indication that the Armenian government is ready to recognize Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh.
The country’s two leading opposition alliances were due to rally supporters in Yerevan later on Tuesday to warn Pashinian against making such concessions to Aliyev. Gegham Manukian, a lawmaker representing the Hayastan alliance, said opposition speakers at the rally will draw “the red lines” on Karabakh.
“This first all means excluding Artsakh’s being part of Azerbaijan and also excluding this option in further negotiations,” Manukian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
In the words of Hayk Mamijanian of the Pativ Unem bloc, the other parliamentary opposition force, the rally is meant to bring together Armenians who strongly believe that “Artsakh (Karabakh) can never be part of Azerbaijan.”
It was also announced that former President Serzh Sarkisian will join protesters in Yerevan’s Liberty Square but will not deliver any speeches there. Sarkisian’s Republican Party makes up Pativ Unem together with another opposition party.