“We are not against that the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh be solved. We are saying that this solution must first of all be seen, felt and accepted by people who live there,” said Pashinian, countering Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s repeated statements that the Karabakh conflict has been resolved.
“If the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh is resolved, then why don’t the Armenian people of Karabakh feel it? Why are Azerbaijani troops deployed all around Nagorno-Karabakh and shoot at it? This is a very important question that the international community should get an answer to,” the Armenian leader said.
Pashinian cited the example of ethnic Armenians who lived in Hadrut, one of the districts of Nagorno-Karabakh, before the 2020 Armenian-Azerbaijani war and had to flee their homes because of the hostilities. He said that if this is Azerbaijan’s vision for a solution, “then one should consider fair my statement that all this looks like or is preparations for a genocide.”
In the interview Pashinian again insisted that by the 2020 ceasefire agreement Armenia has no obligation to provide Azerbaijan with an extraterritorial land corridor to its western exclave of Nakhichevan, something that he said Baku insists upon.
He reiterated that Armenia is interested in the unblocking of all transport links in the region, but insists on maintaining sovereignty over routes passing through its territory.
As for Azerbaijan’s concerns that its citizens do not want to have direct contacts with Armenian border guards or customs officials, Pashinian said that Armenia was not against outsourcing the function to third countries. He said that, for instance, Armenia could invite a Russian border service on its side of the border and Azerbaijan could invite a Turkish border service on its side.
“But if we are to advance the agenda of establishing peace in the region, then it is wrong to say that Armenians and Azerbaijanis should not communicate and have contacts. These contacts should be somehow organized,” Pashinian said.
“If it is really a matter of transport links for Azerbaijan and not a reason for escalation, then in practical terms this issue has been solved. We simply need to fix these agreements and move on,” the Armenian leader underscored.