“We do realize that the possible signing of an interstate treaty aimed at normalizing Armenia-Azerbaijan relations can become an important basis for guaranteeing the sovereign and safe future of the Republic of Armenia and regional stability and peace,” Karabakh’s Security Council and main political factions said late on Monday in a statement issued after an emergency meeting in Stepanakert.
“However, given the inevitable existence and importance in those relations of the interests of Artsakh’s Armenians, an inseparable part of the Armenian people, we emphasize that any document that could … limit the possibility of international recognition of the Artsakh people's right to self-determination and the results of its realization is unacceptable to us,” warned the statement.
It clearly responded to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s latest comments on the peace treaty with Azerbaijan made last Friday. Pashinian reiterated his readiness to sign a document calling for mutual recognition of each other’s territorial integrity. That, he said, should also mean an explicit that Azerbaijani recognition of Armenia’s current borders.
Pashinian again declined to clarify whether that means Yerevan is ready to recognize Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan. He said instead that there should be “no reference to the Karabakh issue in the peace treaty” and suggested that Baku and Stepanakert hold direct negotiations.
“We emphasize that until the Republic of Artsakh is involved in the conflict settlement process on a full legal basis and within the framework of a high-level international format, the Republic of Armenia will be obliged and authorized to represent and protect the rights and interests of the people of Artsakh on international platforms,” countered the Karabakh Armenian leaders.
Alen Simonian, the Armenian parliament speaker and a close Pashinian ally, insisted on Tuesday that the Armenian government has been “doing just that.”
“We have repeatedly said that all issues relating to Artsakh are first and foremost discussed with the Artsakh authorities and that preference is given to the views of Artsakh’s elected authorities during decision making,” he told reporters.
At the same time Simonian echoed Pashinian’s position that the planned Armenian-Azerbaijani treaty must not allude to Karabakh.
Similar comments made by Pashinian on September 14 sparked an antigovernment demonstration in Yerevan. Thousands of angry people rallied outside the Armenian parliament building to demand his removal from power.