Speaking at a weekly session of his cabinet, the Armenian prime minister said that he voiced this proposal of Nagorno-Karabakh’s authorities at the Sochi meeting with the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan on October 31.
“It is proposed to create a demilitarized zone around Nagorno-Karabakh with international guarantees, as a result of which Nagorno-Karabakh may not need a defense army of that scale. This proposal is still valid, I think,” Pashinian said.
Pashinian also said that an updated proposal on the demilitarization of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border zone was proposed to Azerbaijan, suggesting that it withdraw its troops from the border line confirmed in 1991 when both nations gained independence, creating a three-kilometer demilitarized zone on both sides.
“In any case, I must state that the Azerbaijani armed forces must be withdrawn from all the occupied parts of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia, and our position on this will never be changed in any way,” the prime minister stressed.
Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of invading and occupying parts of its territory in the border zone during several incursions since May 2021. Azerbaijan denies any occupation, referring to the fact of the absence of delimitation and demarcation of the nearly 500-kilometer-long border between the two former Soviet countries.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a conflict over the mainly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh region for years. Some 30,000 people were killed in a war in the early 1990s that left ethnic Armenians in control of the former autonomous oblast inside Soviet Azerbaijan as well as several adjacent districts of Azerbaijan proper.
The two sides fought another war in 2020 that lasted six weeks and killed thousands of people on both sides before a Russia-brokered cease-fire, resulting in Armenians losing control over parts of the region and seven adjacent districts.
Under the ceasefire Moscow deployed about 2,000 troops to the region to serve as peacekeepers.