“We are concerned about instability on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and the worsening humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Scholz said after talks with Armenia’s visiting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. “The status quo cannot continue and there needs to be a long-term solution to the benefit of people.”
“There needs to be a peaceful settlement in terms of the territorial integrity of Armenia and Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh citizens’ right to self-determination. These principles are equally applicable,” he told a joint news conference.
Peace plans jointly drafted by the United States, Russia and France prior to the 2020 Armenian-Azerbaijani war upheld the Karabakh Armenians’ right to self-determination, which would be exercised through a referendum. Successive Armenian governments for decades championed that principle.
Over the past year, Pashinian and other senior Armenian officials have made no references to it in their public statements. They have spoken instead of the need to ensure “the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Pashinian stated in January that the international community has always regarded Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan. The claim was denounced by the Armenian opposition and Karabakh’s leadership. The latter urged Yerevan to continue to champion “the Artsakh people’s right to self-determination” in the international arena.
Scholz also voiced support or European Union chief Charles Michel’s ongoing efforts to facilitate an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal. He noted in that regard that German observers account for a large part of a monitoring mission launched by the EU along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan last month.
Russia has denounced the mission requested by Armenia, saying that it is part of the West’s efforts to squeeze Moscow out of the South Caucasus. Yerevan has dismissed the strong criticism voiced by its traditional ally.
Speaking at the press conference in Berlin, Pashinian revealed that Armenia and the EU are planning to sign a “document regulating the monitoring mission.” He did not go into details.
Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan visited the German capital last month. During that trip, his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock added her voice to calls for an immediate end to Azerbaijan’s blockade of Karabakh’s land link with Armenia. Baerbock pointed to “disastrous” humanitarian consequences of the blockade.