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Armenian Government Under Fresh Fire Over Peace Treaty With Azerbaijan


Armenia -‘Opposition leader Ishkhan Saghatelian speaks at a rally in Yerevan, May15, 2022

Armenia’s political leadership has come under fresh fire after trying to dispel opposition concerns about its position on an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty sought by Azerbaijan.

In March, Baku presented Yerevan with five elements which it wants to be at the heart of the treaty. They include a mutual recognition of each other’s territorial integrity. The Armenian government said they are acceptable to it in principle, setting the stage for official negotiations on the issue.

Armenian official revealed earlier this month that they came up with six other issues that should also be included on the agenda of the talks. They said the proposals relate to the future of status of Karabakh and the security of its ethnic Armenian population.

Edmon Marukian, a recently appointed ambassador-at-large, shed more light on them in an interview with Armenian Public Television aired on Friday.

In particular, he said, Yerevan made clear to Baku that “the issues of guaranteeing the security of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenians, respecting their rights and freedoms and determining the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh are fundamental to the Armenian side.” Marukian said this disproves opposition allegations that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian is ready to accept all Azerbaijani terms of the deal.

Armenia - Edmon Marukian, the leader of the Bright Armenia Party, speaks at an election campaign meeting in Yerevan, June 18, 2021.
Armenia - Edmon Marukian, the leader of the Bright Armenia Party, speaks at an election campaign meeting in Yerevan, June 18, 2021.

Pashinian triggered anti-government street protests after declaring last month that the international community is pressing Armenia to “lower the bar” on the status issue and signaling his readiness to do that.

Reacting to Marukian’s remarks, leaders of the country’s two main opposition alliances staging the protests said they are now even more convinced that Pashinian wants to help Azerbaijan regain full control over Karabakh.

“Can Nikol Pashinian explicitly state that Artsakh can never be a part of Azerbaijan and that they see no solution along these lines?” one of them, Ishkhan Saghatelian, told a weekend news conference. “Everything else is manipulation.”

Pashinian’s stance was also denounced by Levon Zurabian, a top aide to former President Levon Ter-Petrosian who has long advocated a compromise solution to the Karabakh conflict.

Armenia - Opposition supporters rally in Yerevan, May 15, 2022.
Armenia - Opposition supporters rally in Yerevan, May 15, 2022.

Zurabian said Pashinian’s administration did not specify the status of Karabakh and mechanisms for determining it acceptable to the Armenian side. Nor did it make clear that the issue must be on the agenda of peace talks with Baku, he said in a Facebook post.

“It once again became clear to us that today Armenia has a government that does not understand anything about diplomacy and is literally insane,” he wrote.

“It turned out that Armenia has no idea what it wants to include in the peace treaty or what it wants to change in Azerbaijan's proposals,” added Zurabian.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said on May 10 that the document presented by Yerevan “can’t be called proposals.” Pashinian complained afterwards that Baku wants the planned talks on the peace accord to focus only on its own ideas.

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