“There is no question that agreements to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh issue need to be reached,” Armen Grigorian, the secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “And our understanding with our international partners is that the peace treaty could be finalized if there is progress on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, if there are guarantees of ensuring [the Karabakh Armenians’] security and rights, and if Armenia is certain that there will be no ethnic cleansing in Karabakh.”
Grigorian said that such guarantees could include the establishment of a “demilitarized zone” around Karabakh or “international presence” in the Armenian-populated territory. He indicated that Baku and Yerevan have reached no agreements on that so far.
The two sides have exchanged in recent months written proposals regarding the peace treaty which Baku hopes will help to restore full Azerbaijani control over Karabakh. Armenian parliament speaker Alen Simonian said late last month that they continue to disagree on “three or four” elements of the would-be treaty.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev spoke of “progress” in Armenia’s position on the issue after holding U.S.-mediated talks with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in Munich on February 18. Still, his foreign minister, Jeyhun Bayramov, accused Yerevan of obstruction.
Grigorian insisted that it is the Azerbaijani side that is not interested in negotiating in good faith. He pointed to the March 5 armed incident near Stepanakert which left three Karabakh police officers and two Azerbaijani soldiers dead.
Pashinian on Thursday described the incident as an Azerbaijani “terrorist act” aimed at torpedoing dialogue between Azerbaijani and Karabakh officials. He said that Baku is preparing the ground for a “new military provocation.”
Earlier this week, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry threatened to “disarm and neutralize” Karabakh Armenian forces as it accused Armenia of continuing to send military personnel and weapons to Karabakh. The authorities in Yerevan and Stepanakert strongly denied the allegations.
The deadly shootings occurred four days after a meeting between Azerbaijani and Karabakh officials organized by the commander of Russian peacekeepers. During that meeting, the Karabakh representatives refused to discuss the Armenian-populated territory’s “integration” into Azerbaijan demanded by Baku.