Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said that a lasting peace with Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh is possible only if Baku agrees to talk directly with the Nagorno-Karabakh stakeholders.
He said that Armenia was ready to resume negotiations under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group, a mediation body co-chaired by France, Russia, and the United States, but insisted that Nagorno-Karabakh must be a party to the talks.
“Azerbaijan must realize that there is no military or any other solution to the conflict. The only way to achieve lasting and sustainable peace is to recognize the right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to self-determination and to establish direct communication with them,” Pashinyan said.
He also accused Azerbaijan of violating the ceasefire agreement that ended the 44-day war in November 2020, which resulted in Baku regaining control of most of the territories around Nagorno-Karabakh that had been held by Armenian forces for nearly three decades.
He said that Armenia would defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the security and rights of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, by all means.
Azerbaijan has rejected any direct contact with the separatist authorities, saying that they have no legal status and that Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of its territory.
It has also demanded that Armenia withdraws its remaining troops from the region and allows the return of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijani refugees who fled during the first war in the early 1990s.
The two countries have been locked in a bitter dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh since the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the predominantly ethnic Armenian region declared its independence from Azerbaijan, sparking a war that killed about 30,000 people and displaced more than a million.