The provision stipulating that representatives of any nationality in the proportion of the population that was in 1988 should take part in the proposed referendum on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh disappeared from the negotiating document after Kazan, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said during an online press conference.
His remarks came in response to the question answering the question of the Artsakh public television about what position Armenia takes regarding the occupied territories of the Republic of Artsakh, given that Hadrut, Shushi and some settlements of Martakert were located on the borders of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, in comparison with Karvachar, Kashatag and other territories, the status of which is disputed from a legal point of view.
“We are back to the topic, which, after our previous interview, became the reason for a lot of noise. In the negotiation process until 2018 and after that, the NKAO was never considered as only Armenian territory. That's exactly what I said in the wrong way last time. That's exactly what I said in the wrong way last time.
Was the issue of Shushi at the talks or not? Then I spoke about the principle contained in the Madrid Principles, according to which representatives of any nationality should participate in the proposed referendum in the same proportion as they were in 1988․ In translation, this means that both the Armenians should participate in deciding the future fate of Nagorno-Karabakh, and the Azerbaijanis who lived in the NKAR.
I draw attention to one strange fact: this circumstance then disappears from the negotiation process, papers, and this issue is raised not by Azerbaijan, but by Armenia, with the signature of Serzh Sargsyan, addresses the co-chairs, mediators, stating that this situation needs to be restored, it is unacceptable that it does not exist, can you imagine? The provision providing for the participation of Azerbaijanis in determining the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is withdrawn from the negotiation process after Kazan, this has not been fixed, and the request for the return of this provision is submitted not by Azerbaijan, but by Armenia.
Why? Did Serzh Sargsyan dream that the Azerbaijanis would take part in deciding the fate of Nagorno-Karabakh? Of course not. He wanted the 1988 provision to keep the proportion back, as in 1988 70 percent or more of NK's population was Armenian. In the negotiation process in 2016, it is stated that a very important buffer has been lost, which may raise the question: one minute, there is a problem related to proportionality. Therefore, last time I said that the Armenian side never disputed the participation of Azerbaijanis in the referendum, which, according to the negotiation package, should have been residents of Nagorno-Karabakh. I did not create this, there was an impression that it was my dream, I inherited this wording."
"This provision was not returned, it was blurred, he himself (Serzh Sargsyan - ed.) wanted to keep the buffer of proportionality. No one knows, for example, how many 40,000 Azerbaijanis from Nagorno-Karabakh were in 2017 or 2018. Considering that this referendum should be held within the terms agreed by the parties, Azerbaijan says: “Very well, in my opinion, there will be no referendum in the next 50-100 years.
Armenia says I do not agree and insist that this referendum should be held in 5 years.”
Azerbaijan says: “The term should be determined with the consent of the parties, right? He says yes, he says he does not agree with this, but Armenia says that he does not agree either.
And Azerbaijan says: “If you do not agree, then there will be no referendum either in 5 or 100 years. This is what we're talking about. I can answer much more directly, but let's not do it, I answered the question, I have already given all the information necessary to give an accurate answer to the question, and the rest, please, they will compare,” Pashinyan said.