The Armenian government declined to say whether Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian or other members of his administrations will meet with the visiting delegation led by Arayik Harutiunian, the Karabakh president. The government’s press office said only that it will issue an official statement in case of such a meeting.
Harutiunian’s press secretary did not return phone calls for the second consecutive day. Members of his delegation, including Karabakh parliament speaker Artur Tovmasian, also could not be reached for comment.
The visit was announced amid demonstrations staged in Stepanakert by several hundred local residents. Their organizers demanded that Harutiunian shed light on Karabakh’s uncertain future.
One of those activists, Tigran Petrosian, said Tovmasian told him by phone that the Karabakh delegation is now waiting for Armenian parliament speaker Alen Simonian to wrap up an official visit to Russia and meet with it in Yerevan.
“They were supposed to meet with Pashinian,” Petrosian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service from Stepanakert. “I think this must be the case because Alen Simonian is not in a position to talk or answer questions about the negotiating process.”
Pashinian has repeatedly said that he regularly briefs the authorities in Stepanakert on Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations. Hayk Konjorian, another senior lawmaker from Pashinian’s Civil Contract party, insisted on Monday that the Karabakh president is “fully informed” about details of those talks.
During a fresh meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev mediated by the European Union last week, Pashinian reaffirmed his readiness to sign a peace treaty that would commit Armenia to recognizing Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. A joint statement released after the summit in Prague said nothing about Karabakh.
Pashinian said ahead of the summit that it will be up to Baku and the Karabakh Armenians to negotiate on the territory’s status. Karabakh’s leadership expressed serious concern over his stance. The Armenian opposition criticized Pashinian in even stronger terms, saying that he is planning to help Baku restore full control over Karabakh.
Davit Galstian, a Karabakh opposition figure, described the Karabakh delegation’s trip to Yerevan as meaningless.
“The current Armenian authorities have washed their hands [of Karabakh] and are leaving the Armenians of Artsakh (Karabakh) on their own against the Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance,” Galstian said grimly. “The authorities are so naïve that they think they will save Armenia by surrendering Artsakh.”