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Armenia ready to recognize Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan in exchange for security guarantees, says PM Nikol Pashinyan

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Armenia is ready to recognize the 86,600 square kilometers of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh, announced the country’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan during a press conference on May 22. He stressed that this would be possible if there are international guarantees for the security of the region’s Armenian population.

According to Pashinyan, in this case Baku must recognize Armenia's territorial integrity of 29,800 square kilometers. This area includes territories occupied by Azerbaijan, such as the village of Artsvashen in the Gegharkunik region.

“The security issues of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh must be discussed between Stepanakert and Baku, and we consider it important to create international guarantees. What do we mean? We mean that, for example, the issue of security and rights of Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh can be neglected and Azerbaijan will continue its policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide, and we consider it important to have international guarantees,” Pashinyan said.

According to the Armenian Prime Minister, Armenia had handed over amendments to the text of the peace treaty to Azerbaijan before a meeting in Washington in early May.

“If Azerbaijan gives us its version [of the document] in the coming days, and in a few days we see that the document corresponds to the logic of mutual concessions, then why not, the agreement can be signed during [our] next meetings,” Pashinyan said.

The PM also did not rule out that Armenia could de jure terminate or suspend its participation in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). “This is possible if Armenia states that the CSTO has withdrawn from Armenia,” Pashinyan said, implying that the organization has failed to fulfill its obligations.

“In this case, [Armenia's status as a participant] in the CSTO will only prevent us from discussing the security agenda with other countries. Do you think Armenia has not received other offers of purchasing weapons from other countries? Of course we have, and those opportunities have not been realized mainly because of Armenia's membership in the CSTO,” the PM added.

Since mid-December, Nagorno-Karabakh has been under blockade by Azerbaijan, resulting in severe shortages of food and medicine in the unrecognized republic, as well as regular interruptions of the supply of electricity, gas and broadband internet services. In April, Azerbaijani troops set up a checkpoint in the Lachin corridor – within the zone of responsibility of Russian peacekeepers – in violation of the Trilateral Statement of November 2020. On February 23, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, where Armenia had earlier filed a formal request, ordered Azerbaijan to “take all measures at its disposal to ensure unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles and cargo along the Lachin Corridor in both directions.” Baku has ignored the court ruling.

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