YEREVAN. – The people of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) should have an active participation in the determining of their own destiny, since Stepanakert’s direct participation in the negotiations has been one of the most important approaches of the Armenian side, these months.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Tuesday stated the above-said at the National Assembly, as he presented the five-year program of the Government of Armenia.
Pashinyan noted that the Azerbaijani leadership states that if the Armenian party includes Nagorno-Karabakh in the negotiations to resolve the Karabakh conflict, Baku will insist that the “Azerbaijani community of Karabakh” also partakes in them.
“[But] the so-called Azerbaijani community of Karabakh has participated in the negotiations throughout this whole time,” the Armenian PM said. “Throughout this whole time, the so-called Azerbaijani community of Karabakh participates in the parliamentary and presidential elections in Azerbaijan. They are the citizens of Azerbaijan, and therefore the Azerbaijan president was elected also by the ‘Azerbaijani community of Karabakh.’” Consequently, as per Pashinyan, the Azerbaijani president and parliament have a mandate to negotiate on behalf of these people.
The Armenian PM added, however, that Baku’s position on the “Azerbaijani community of Karabakh’s” participation raises several questions with respect to the negotiations.
“Does that mean that the Azerbaijani authorities are not authorized to represent the whole Azerbaijani state in the negotiations?” Nikol Pashinyan asked. “If there are citizens in Azerbaijan whom the leadership of the country is not authorized to represent at the negotiations, then a question rises: Is the [Azerbaijani] leadership authorized to represent the representatives of the remaining [national] minorities? If not, then with what mandate is the Azerbaijani government generally participating in the negotiations?”
The Armenian PM assured that he sees the precise forms and methods for including the Nagorno-Karabakh representatives in the negotiations process. And in his view, these methods and forms will be discussed with the international partners of Armenia.