It appeared to respond to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s claims that Yerevan is ready to negotiate and sign a peace treaty with Baku on his terms.
Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian met in Brussels last Wednesday for fresh talks hosted by European Council President Charles Michel. The latter said after the four-hour meeting that the two leaders agreed to intensify negotiations on the peace accord sought by Baku. The Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers will meet in September to “work on draft texts,” Michel added in a statement.
Visiting Italy on Friday, Aliyev said the planned talks on the accord will be based on five elements which the Azerbaijani side presented to Yerevan in March this year. Those include a mutual recognition of each other’s territorial integrity, something which Baku believes would uphold its sovereignty over Karabakh.
“The Armenian prime minister accepted these principles. That was reaffirmed at our meeting in Brussels two days ago,” Aliyev told journalists. He expressed hope that the peace treaty will be signed within months.
Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan countered on Saturday that while “there is nothing unacceptable to us” in those principles they must be “complemented” by Yerevan’s own counterproposals relating to the future of status of Karabakh and the security of its population.
“We are ready for continuing peace negotiations on this basis,” Mirzoyan said in written comments. “Prime Minister Pashinian again made this clear during the latest discussion held in Brussels.”
“The failure to listen to or attempts not to listen to this view give the Armenian side reason to doubt the sincerity of Azerbaijan’s intentions to achieve peace,” he went on. “Moreover, the continuing false and arbitrary interpretations of the negotiations and avoidance of compliance with understandings lead us to think that Azerbaijan is intent on torpedoing the peace process and continuing its policy of ethnic cleansing through the use of force.”
Baku effectively dismissed the Armenian counterproposals before Michel’s previous trilateral meeting with Aliyev and Pashinian held in May. The Azerbaijani leader has repeatedly ruled out any status for Karabakh, saying that Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2020 war with Armenia put an end to the conflict.
On Sunday, Pashinian reportedly briefed parliament deputies from his Civil Contract party on the results of his August 31 talks with Aliyev. One of them, Andranik Kocharian, said they “received from the prime ministers answers to many questions” but did not elaborate.
According to some media outlets, Pashinian told the pro-government lawmakers that he intends to sign the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty before the end of this year. Kocharian, who heads the parliament committee on defense and security, did not deny those reports. He indicated that Pashinian’s government believes delaying such a deal is not in Armenia’s interests.
“We are now in a situation where we have no chance to stall for time,” Kocharian told reporters.
Armenia’s main opposition forces will portray such statements as further proof that Pashinian is helping Baku regain full control of Karabakh.
They began regular street protests in Yerevan in May after the prime minister signaled his readiness to “lower the bar” on Karabakh’s status acceptable to Yerevan. They failed to force him to resign.
Opposition leaders on Friday pledged to continue the protests, while announcing a change of their tactics.