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Karabakh Leaders Blast Pashinian’s Stance


Armenia - People demonstrate in Yerevan in a show of solidarity with Nagorno-Karabakh, July 25, 2023.
Armenia - People demonstrate in Yerevan in a show of solidarity with Nagorno-Karabakh, July 25, 2023.

Nagorno-Karabakh’s leadership demanded late on Tuesday that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian walk back on his plans to recognize Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh through an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty.

It also said that the Karabakh Armenians will not give up their right to self-determination despite Azerbaijan’s seven-month blockade of the Lachin corridor and the resulting crippling shortages of food, medicine, fuel and other essential items in the Armenian-populated region.

“Artsakh and the people of Artsakh cannot be part of Azerbaijan,” the Karabakh premier, Gurgen Nersisian, told thousands of people who again rallied in Stepanakert’s central square in protest against the blockade.

“Any oral or written statements by Armenia recognizing Artsakh and the people of Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan are unacceptable,” Nersisian said. “As the ongoing events show, they are destructive for Artsakh and encourage new criminal acts committed by Azerbaijan against the people of Artsakh. Azerbaijan is openly demonstrating what awaits Armenians under Azerbaijani rule.”

“We are demanding that the Republic of Armenia abandon its intention to recognize Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan and such an approach to normalizing relations,” he went on. “This approach cannot ensure peace in the region and a safe and dignified existence of the people of Artsakh. What is more, it cannot even guarantee Armenia’s existence because the target of the Turkish-Azerbaijani duo is not Artsakh but the Armenian people and statehood.”

Nersisian clearly responded to Pashinian’s statements made at a news conference in Yerevan earlier in the day. The Armenian premier defended his policy on the conflict with Azerbaijan and said that “Armenia cannot decide the fate of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.” He chided the authorities in Stepanakert for their reluctance to embark on a dialogue with Baku on the “rights and security” of the Karabakh Armenians.

Nersisian claimed that most citizens of Armenia do not support Pashinian’s stance and are “ready to declare that if need be.” The restoration of Azerbaijani control over Karabakh would lead to a “subjugation” and “extermination” of its population, he said.

Pashinian already drew condemnation from Stepanakert as well as the Armenian opposition when he stated in May that he recognizes Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.

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