ArmInfo.Armenia's Premier Nikol Pashinyan admits the problem of Azerbaijani and Armenian enclaves and exclaves. In response to a citizen's question, Armenia's premier recalled that one of the principles of a peace agreement with Azerbaijan is mutual recognition of each other's territorial integrity based on USSR maps.
"When we talk about the territory of Armenia of 29.8 thousand square. km., it does not include exclaves/enclaves that were part of Soviet Azerbaijan. In the territory of Armenia of 29.8 thousand square km. at the same time, the exclave of Artsvashen, located inside Azerbaijan, is included. Now this issue needs to be resolved somehow, because Artsvashen is a sovereign territory of Armenia. And, even if I wish, I cannot say that there is no such issue of enclaves, since Artsvashen is a sovereign territory of Armenia and I cannot say that we have nothing to do with it," Pashinyan said.
"When Armenia raises the issue of Artsvashen, then naturally Azerbaijan raises the issue of those territories that belonged to Soviet Azerbaijan, noted the head of the RA Cabinet of Ministers. "Therefore, issues need to be regulated within the framework of the peace process," the prime minister said.
According to him, there are several options for solving the problem. One of them is that Armenia confirms its sovereignty over Artsvashen, and Azerbaijan over those territories that de jure exist in Tavush. Then it will be necessary to think about how to ensure Armenia access to Artsvashen, which is physically located inside the territory of Azerbaijan.
At the same time, as Pashinyan noted, there is also a scenario that involves the de jure consolidation of the de facto situation.
All these issues were the subject of discussion during the negotiations. The Prime Minister recalled that back in 2021, at a meeting with residents of the village of Voskepar, Tavush region, he promised to discuss solution options with citizens, if any were developed. At the moment, there are no substantive agreements or mutual agreements with Azerbaijan, Nikol Pashinyan assured, once again calling not to overestimate the importance of this issue.
Azerbaijani enclaves in Armenia are located in the Tavush and Ararat regions. These are the villages of Baganis-Ayrum, Nerkin Voskepar (Ashagy Askipara) and Verin Voskepar (Yukhary Askipara), Barkhudarly, Sofulu, as well as Tigranashen (Karki). These settlements were given to Armenia as a result of hostilities in the 90s, during the first Karabakh war. The village of Artsvashen, in turn, came under the control of Baku.
Many Armenian experts have repeatedly warned about the dangers of exchanging enclaves between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It was noted that when the enclaves are transferred, we will have serious problems with interstate roads. In particular, we are talking about one enclave in the Ararat region (Tigranashen), where the M2 interstate highway runs, connecting the south and north of the country and Armenia with Iran, and two in the Tavush region. The situation is similar in the northeast, in the Tavush region in a very difficult winding area with two former enclaves. There is an interstate highway connecting Armenia with Georgia - through Ijevan, Noyemberyan, Bagratashen.
Meanwhile, Artsvashen in its area is slightly inferior to the total territory of the three indicated enclaves, but does not occupy any strategic territory; on the contrary, it is completely surrounded by Azerbaijani territory.