Nikol Pashinyan, the prime minister of Armenia, was cited as saying on Monday that his nation’s strategy toward its archenemy Azerbaijan and ally Russia had undergone significant adjustments.
According to the Russian state news agency TASS and the Russian news outlet Ostorozhno, Pashinyan stated on Monday that Armenia was willing to recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh region as a part of Azerbaijan if Baku ensures the safety of the ethnic Armenian minority.
Nagorno-Karabakh has been a source of conflict between the two Caucasus neighbors since the years leading up to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and between ethnic Armenians and Turkic Azeris for well over a century.
The only access road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, on which the enclave depends for financial and military support, has been frequently closed since Azerbaijan took over the region previously held by ethnic Armenians in and surrounding the mountain enclave in 2020.
According to Ostorozhno, Novosti, Pashinyan stated during a news conference that Nagorno-Karabakh was a part of Azerbaijan’s 86,600 sq km of land.
“If we understand each other correctly, then Baku recognizes the territorial integrity of Armenia at 29,800 sq km, and Armenia recognizes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within the named limits.”
Pashinyan was quoted as saying that if the rights of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh were assured, he would be willing to do this, which would effectively mean accepting Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized borders. He suggested that the subject be brought up during negotiations between the two nations.
“Armenia continues to support the regional peace agenda. And we hope that we can agree on the language of the peace treaty soon so that we may sign it.”Nikol Pashinyan, the prime minister of Armenia
In a fresh expression of resentment over Russia’s lack of support, Pashinyan warned that his country could leave the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
In response to military threats from Azerbaijan, Yerevan has grown more irritated with what it perceives as Russia’s reluctance to defend Armenia.
According to the Moscow Times, he stated during a news conference in Yerevan, “I am not ruling out that Armenia will decide to withdraw from the CSTO, if the organization does not uphold its treaty duties.”
Pashinyan made these comments before negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, that would take place on Thursday in Moscow.
The Caucasus neighbors have been trying to negotiate a peace deal with assistance from the European Union and the United States for decades while being embroiled in a territorial conflict.
Cover photo: EPA/UPG