Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan rejected Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s latest bold and erroneous claims to sovereign Armenian territory. In spite of this provocation, “Armenia will defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity through all possible and impossible means,” Pashinyan said during a Cabinet meeting.
Pashinyan is referring to a statement made by Aliyev on Wednesday, when the dictator declared territory deep within Armenia’s sovereign borders to be Azerbaijani “ancestral lands,” including Yerevan, Sevan, and Syunik, and that Azerbaijanis will return to these territories. Aliyev said, “When all communications are opened, we, the people of Azerbaijan will return to their ancestral land, of course. The 10 November Trilateral Declaration states: all refugees must return to their homeland. Our native land is Zangezur (Syunik), Goycha (Sevan), and Iravan (Yerevan). We will definitely return there.”
Pashinyan observed that Azerbaijan is obviously threatening Armenia’s territorial integrity and hindering the establishment of regional stability and peace with their provocative statements. He elaborated by saying that Armenia is considering the launch of mechanisms available to the Armenian-Russian united group of forces and the Collective Security Treaty Organization as it continues consultations with partners on this issue.
The Prime Minister’s statement runs as follows,
“Azerbaijan is trying to create ill-grounded justifications for its aggressive policy, the manifestations of which we have seen in recent days and in recent months. In particular, the working group featuring the deputy prime ministers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan is making constructive and effective efforts to unblock regional communications, while Azerbaijan’s incomprehensible statements about the so-called Zangezur Corridor have nothing to do with the working group’s goals, with the January 11 trilateral statement of Moscow, which specifies the way Clause 9 of the trilateral statement of November 9 should be implemented.
My comment is unequivocal: Azerbaijan is making statements about the “corridor” in order to disrupt the working group’s proceedings and prevent the opening of regional communications. Why, because Azerbaijan seeks to continue the 30-year-long blockade of Armenia, but we will continue to work in the trilateral working group to break the blockade of Armenia with the support of our Russian and international partners, we will do everything to open regional communications, that is, we will get Armenia out of a protracted blockade.
Azerbaijan is trying to create the impression that Armenia is against peace and against signing a peace treaty. Meanwhile, on several occasions Armenia publicly welcomed the statement issued by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs on April 13, which states: Quote: “Having in mind the terms of their OSCE mandate and the aspirations of all the people of the region for a stable, peaceful, and prosperous future, the Co-Chairs stress that special attention should be paid to the achievement of a final comprehensive and sustainable settlement on the basis of the elements and principles well-known to the sides.
Let me remind that the three “the elements and principles well-known to the sides” as specified in the aforementioned statement, which underlie the settlement of the conflict, are as follows: people’s right to self-determination, ruling out the use of force or the threat of force and territorial integrity.
Therefore, this statement is nothing more than a proposal for a roadmap to reinstate peace in the region. Armenia welcomed the statement and responded favorably to its provisions, and now I wish to officially declare once again that Armenia is prepared to resume the settlement process in the format and content specified in the Co-Chairs’ statement. I think that instead of destructive actions and statements, Azerbaijan’s leadership should have complied with the calls voiced by the mediators. Azerbaijan should express a clear-cut position on the statement of the Co-Chairs. We will unequivocally uphold the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination.
In any case, in cooperation with our international partners, we have so far managed to repatriate 104 prisoners of war. We will continue to work in this direction, as well as on the demarcation and delimitation of borders, towards achieving a comprehensive settlement of the Karabakh issue and for the opening of regional communications. These issues have been and will be among our priorities.
With these destructive actions Azerbaijan not only violates the statement of November 9, but it also tries to frustrate the process of unblocking regional infrastructure as stipulated in the trilateral statement of January 11, as well as to undermine the peace talks and regional stability in general, which is stipulated in the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ statement of April 13. Azerbaijan’s provocative actions are a challenge to international law and all those interested in regional stability, in the establishment of peace, and we will continue our consultations and cooperation with these forces.
In conclusion, I would like to reaffirm our primary objective, that is, to honor the mandate received from the people, to usher in an era of peaceful development for the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian people. And we will consistently move ahead in pursuit of this mandate.”