Pashinian said on Tuesday that the international community has always regarded Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan. He also declared that the Armenian government must only deal with Armenia’s problems and that the authorities in Stepanakert should settle the conflict on their own.
“Perhaps we were not quite pragmatic when it seemed to us that the four UN Security Council resolutions [on the Karabakh conflict] are just pieces of paper which we can ignore,” Pashinian told a news conference.
Karabakh’s president and top security officials as well as leaders of its main political factions expressed serious concern over Pashinian’s comments during an emergency meeting held in Stepanakert.
In a joint statement issued after the meeting, they said the comments run counter to “the position adopted by the Republic of Artsakh’s population and authorities.”
“We … reaffirm our position that Artsakh’s sovereignty and right to live in the historical homeland freely and independently are absolute values,” read the statement. “No coercion or threat can hold us back from our decision to continue our struggle.”
The statement urged Yerevan to continue to champion “the Artsakh people’s right to self-determination” in the international arena.
Pashinian’s administration appears to have stopped doing so after the 2020 Armenian-Azerbaijani war. Over the past year the Armenian premier has spoken instead of the need to ensure “the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
In April 2022, Pashinian said the international community is pressing Armenia to “lower the bar” on Karabakh’s future status and signaled his readiness to do that. The statement prompted strong criticism from Karabakh’s leadership and the Armenian opposition, which staged antigovernment protests in Yerevan.
Pashinian rekindled tensions with Stepanakert in October when he moved to sign a peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan that would commit the two states to recognizing each other’s territorial integrity. His critics portrayed this as further proof of his readiness to recognize Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh.
Karabakh leaders travelled to Yerevan later in October to seek clarification over the issue.
Pashinian’s latest remarks, which came amid a continuing Azerbaijani blockade of Karabakh’s land link with Armenia, were also denounced by Armenian opposition leaders. Some of them argued, in particular, that the United States, Russia and France for years advanced a peace deal that would allow the Karabakh Armenians to determine the disputed region’s status in a future referendum.