ArmInfo. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan participated in the discussion in the format of a master class as part of the Second Paris Peace Forum. The discussion was led by Stephen Erlanger, New York Times chief diplomatic correspondent for Europe.
Introducing the Prime Minister, Stephen Erlanger noted that Nikol Pashinyan is an interesting person, and he has a special attitude to the head of the Armenian government, because he is a former journalist, has been in prison several times and has become Prime Minister of his country. "This is a very unusual way. I am a former Moscow correspondent, I was in your country. I want to thank you for being here," Erlanger said. According to the press service of the head of the Armenian government, in his speech, the Prime Minister thanked French President Emmanuel Macron for such an important initiative and noted that this is an important platform for discussing modern security challenges and developing joint formulas to overcome them.
"What do you need to know about the security situation in our country? I must note a very strange fact: two of our four borders are closed, the other two are half closed, so to speak. Why are they half-closed? Because we have a border with Iran in the south, and as you know, there is some tension around Iran, our northern border with Georgia, and tensions between Georgia and Russia have some negative impact, "said Nikol Pashinyan.
But, of course, as the prime minister pointed out, the most important security challenge for Armenia is the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh. Having become the Prime Minister of Armenia and starting to take part in international relations, he said, he was surprised to find that there are a number of misunderstandings in the international community regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. According to Pashinyan, anyone who is interested in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue should know the reason for this conflict. "First of all, the reason was the decision of the Stalin regime to transfer Karabakh to the newly formed Soviet Azerbaijan. When Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union in 1986, he began the process of democratic reforms and announced the beginning of perestroika. The vast majority of the Karabakh population was and remains Armenian, and they had the status autonomous region within Soviet Azerbaijan. The population of Nagorno-Karabakh decided to seize this opportunity and withdraw from Azerbaijan in accordance with the legislation of the USSR "he reminded.
"The authorities of Soviet Azerbaijan decided to suppress this movement with the help of leverage - the police, etc. This is how the very first stage of this conflict was formed. Then, when the collapse of the USSR began, Azerbaijan, like many other Soviet republics, decided to become an independent state. And the law The USSR said that if a republic-member of the Union decides to become independent, then the autonomous region that is part of it will determine its future.
Thus, along with Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh also began the process of independence. And just as Azerbaijan separated from the USSR, so Karabakh separated from Azerbaijan. As a result, Azerbaijan decided to use force, forcing and suppressing the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, he started a war. Ethnic cleansing began in many areas of Nagorno-Karabakh, and as a result, the Armenian population of Nagorno- Karabakh - about 80-85% of the total population, began self-defense. And it turned out that they were able to do this. They made Azerbaijan come to terms with the situation. On May 12, 1995, a ceasefire agreement was signed between Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. After that, and even before that, the negotiation process began, a format for negotiations was developed. According to the decisions of international authorities, this format had three parties: Azerbaijan, Nagorno- Karabakh and Armenia. The negotiation process began in 1992. For a long time, Nagorno-Karabakh has been included in the negotiation process as a party. By the way, meetings were held between the leaders of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, as well as the ministers of defense of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia. Unfortunately, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has not yet been resolved. "Continued Nikol Pashinyan.
There are several reasons for this, as the head of the Armenian cabinet emphasized. Firstly, in 1998, Nagorno-Karabakh was excluded from the negotiation process. As a result (not only because of this, but also because of this factor including), Azerbaijan now refuses to negotiate with Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku even refuses to negotiate in the format of the co-chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group, which includes Russia, France and the United States. However, according to this format, there are three parties to the negotiations - Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. On the other hand, the Azerbaijani government claims that Nagorno-Karabakh should be part of Azerbaijan. "But this is a very strange statement, because it is impossible to understand how the Azerbaijani government can consider Nagorno-Karabakh as part of its territorial integrity, but at the same time refuse to engage in dialogue with him. Isn't it strange? Azerbaijani leaders say they want to see Nagorno-Karabakh as part Of Azerbaijan, but they refuse to negotiate with the people of Nagorno- Karabakh.
What does this mean? Only one thing: unfortunately, the Azerbaijani authorities are not going to talk with these people and negotiate with them, because they they are territories, not people. More precisely, they need territories without people, "said Pashinyan. According to the RA Prime Minister, the policy of Armenian-phobia extends further. Foreigners visiting Nagorno-Karabakh are on the black list of Azerbaijan. A citizen of any country that has an Armenian surname or is of Armenian descent cannot enter Azerbaijan. This was the case with a US citizen, a Bloomberg journalist, a Turkish orchestra musician, an eight-year-old child, and an eighty-year-old Russian pensioner. "Recently, the driver was arrested only for listening to Armenian music in the car," Pashinyan recalled.
"The most notorious incident occurred with Arsenal player Heinrich Mkhitaryan, who missed the final match of the Europa League in Baku just a few months ago. Azerbaijani authorities even banned T-shirts with the name of Mkhitaryan, and people passing by in such shirts on the streets of Baku were detained by police. What will happen next? "the prime minister asked. According to Pashinyan, it is obvious that real efforts are needed to solve the problem. "We have, so to speak, equal opportunities with the leaders of Azerbaijan, the leaders of Nagorno-Karabakh to solve the problem," he said. Pashinyan recalled that at the very beginning of his tenure, he stated that any solution to the Nagorno- Karabakh conflict should be acceptable to the peoples of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. "I am the first Armenian leader who stated that any solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be acceptable for the Azerbaijani people. And the opposition of our country asks why Armenia should take care of the interests of the people of Azerbaijan.
My answer is very simple: because I am convinced that if we want to find a stable solution to this problem, we must take into account the interests of all parties involved. I made this statement in the hope that we will hear a similar statement from the leadership of Azerbaijan, from my colleague Ilham Aliyev. If we heard a similar statement from Mr. Aliyev, this would be a real breakthrough in the negotiation process. From this very important platform (Paris Peace Forum), I want to urge our partners to make such a statement that the solution of the problem should be acceptable to the peoples of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia.
Of course, this is not an easy problem, but if we took responsibility for the future of our peoples, which also means the future of the region, which means the future of our world, we must make real efforts to achieve real change," - said Prime Minister Pashinyan.