Pashinian again decried Azerbaijan’s continuing blockage of the Lachin corridor and mounting pressure on Karabakh, saying that this policy is aimed at “subjecting the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to ethnic cleansing and genocide.”
“Basically, we are seeing a creeping implementation of that policy in Nagorno-Karabakh,” he charged during a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan.
Pashinian made clear that in these circumstances he will not deviate from his “peace agenda” denounced by his domestic political opponents as well as Karabakh’s leadership. Armenian opposition leaders claim that Baku was emboldened by his readiness to sign a peace treaty upholding Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh. They maintain that the Karabakh Armenians will have to flee their homeland in that case.
“The rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh should be addressed within the framework of international mechanisms for a Baku-Stepanakert dialogue, and a peace treaty should be signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” insisted Pashinian.
The Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers reportedly narrowed their governments’ differences over the treaty during another round of U.S.-mediated negotiations held in and outside Washington last month.
Pashinian cautioned that the progress made by them was “not significant.” Still, he expressed hope that he and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will build on that progress during their next meeting in Brussels expected later this week.
Aliyev on Wednesday demanded that Armenia withdraw “the remnants” of its troops from Karabakh and that the Karabakh Armenians disarm and disband their military forces. He also complained that Yerevan remains reluctant to open a “corridor” that would connect Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave through Armenian territory.
Pashinian rejected Aliyev’s “baseless accusations.” He reiterated that Armenia “has no troops in Karabakh” and that the Russian-brokered agreement that stopped the 2020 war calls for conventional Armenian-Azerbaijani transport links, rather than an extraterritorial corridor for Nakhichevan.