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I Was Heavily Criticized In My Country: Pashinyan at UN

The peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict is of crucial importance for the stability and the security of the region, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in his speech at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

“Since my very first day in office I have been taking steps in this very context. With this end in view, I publicly stated that any solution of the NK conflict must be acceptable for the people of Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan. It’s noteworthy, that I was first Armenian leader to voice such position about the settlement of the conflict. I was heavily criticized in my country for such a formula of solution which places the three parties of conflict on an equal footing. Nevertheless, I strongly believe that this is the only way to the peaceful and lasting settlement of the conflict because it offers a possibility of comprise, mutual respect and balance.

I introduced this formula not only publicly, but also within the negotiations under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship. In order to move forward I expected similar statement from Azerbaijan. However, the highest authorities of Azerbaijan remain on their position which aims at a solution of the NK conflict acceptable only for the people of Azerbaijan. What does it mean in reality? It means that the Azerbaijani authorities do not have any intention to solve this conflict, instead they want to defeat the people of Nagorno Karabakh, they don’t want to seek any compromise. What they aim at is a revenge for the unsuccessful attempted aggressions against the people of Nagorno Karabakh in 1990s and in 2016. This is why they are inflaming anti-Armenian sentiments among their people. This is why they are spreading enormous resources on armament. This is why the anti-Armenian hate speech has become official policy in Azerbaijan”, Pashinyan said.

The PM added that in fact, the Azerbaijani authorities want to bring back the Soviet time status of Nagorno Karabakh. “But it is a futile effort because the people of Soviet-era Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Region declared their independence and exercised their self-determination as did Azerbaijan seceding from the Soviet Union. This position of Azerbaijan is tantamount of claiming restoration of Soviet Union. Azerbaijani government presents the NK conflict as a territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We totally disagree with such an interpretation of the conflict. It is not a dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This dispute is not about territorial claims. It is about people, about real men and women and their right to live in their homeland in the way that their ancestors lived over many centuries. Unfortunately, the Azerbaijani authorities do not want to talk to these people and negotiate with them because they want to have that territories, but not the people. To be more precise, territories without the people”, the Armenian PM said.

He considered important to explain the reason why he is referring to this part of the story. “Do you think I want to contribute to the tension in our region? Of course, not. On the contrary, I want to make it clear that the conflict of Nagorno Karabakh is a very complicated and very painful issue for the peoples of the region, that it is impossible to settle it without hard and consistent work, without compromise, mutual respect and balance. Therefore, I want to invite my Azerbaijani counterpart, President Ilham Aliyev, to accept the formula that will create condition for our breakthrough in the peace process. Any solution to the NK conflict must be acceptable for the people of Armenia, the people of Nagorno Karabakh and the people of Azerbaijan. We need to work together to translate this formula into reality”, he said.