Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York, Pashinian insisted that last week’s large-scale border clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces amounted to military aggression against Armenia.
“In the wake of this attack, the official narrative and other sources of information suggest that Azerbaijan intends to occupy more territories of Armenia, which must be prevented,” he said in a speech. “I want to stress that the risk of new aggression by Azerbaijan remains very high, especially given that every day Azerbaijan violates the ceasefire and the number of causalities and those injured could change any moment.”
Baku blames Yerevan for the worst escalation of the conflict since the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Earlier this week, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev accused the Armenian side of dragging its feet over the signing of a peace treaty sought by him and the demarcation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. He said the treaty should call for mutual recognition of each other’s territory integrity.
Pashinian asserted that Azerbaijan is seeking the kind of accord that would not prevent it from claiming or trying to occupy more Armenian territory.
“Could you show a map of Armenia that you recognize or are ready to recognize as the Republic of Armenia?” he asked, appealing to Aliyev. He cited Aliyev’s repeated claims that much of modern-day Armenia is “historical Azerbaijani lands.”
“If Azerbaijan recognizes territorial integrity of Armenia, not theoretically but concretely -- I mean the integrity of our internationally recognized territory of 29.800 square kilometers -- it will mean that we can sign a peace treaty mutually recognizing each other’s territorial integrity,” Pashinian went on. “Otherwise, we would have a phantom peace treaty and after that Azerbaijan will use the border delimitation process for new territorial claims and occupation.”
Pashinian made similar comments in the Armenian parliament on September 14 nearly two days after the outbreak of the latest border clashes. He said nothing about the status of Nagorno-Karabakh or the security of its ethnic Armenian population.
His statement fueled rumors that the Armenian government will unconditionally accept Baku’s terms of the treaty, including recognition of Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh. Thousands of angry people rallied outside the parliament building in Yerevan in the following hours to demand Pashinian’s removal from power. The prime minister assured them that his comments were misunderstood and that “no document is about to be signed.”
In his UN speech, Pashinian made no explicit mention of the Karabakh Armenians’ right to self-determination that had long been championed by Armenia.
Also, Pashinian appeared to hit out at Russia and the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) over what Yerevan sees as their lack of support for Armenia. In particular, he said, “some of our international partners are silent” about the Azerbaijani “aggression.”
By contrast, the Armenian leader praised U.S. and Iranian reactions to the hostilities when he held earlier on Thursday separate talks with Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the annual session of the UN General Assembly.
Raisi was cited by his office as reiterating that Iran strongly opposes any attempts to strip it of its “strategic” and “historical” border with Armenia. He clearly alluded to Azerbaijani demands for an exterritorial corridor connecting Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave.
Pashinian repeated in his speech that Yerevan is only ready to open conventional transport links for Nakhichevan that would be under the “sovereign control of Armenia.”