October 03
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Armenia recognizes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Armen Grigoryan, the Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia announced this on Tuesday during the discussion organized within the framework of the GLOBSEC 2023 Bratislava Forum, the annual conference dedicated to security issues in the capital of Slovakia, the RFE/RL Armenian Service reports.

"It is clear that we recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. For example, in the May 14 statement of European Council President Michel, he mentioned the territories of 29,800 square kilometers of Armenia and 86,800 square kilometers of Azerbaijan. On one level, we hear such statements, on the other level, Azerbaijan, President Aliyev himself, never say that they recognize Armenia's 29,800 square kilometers. Moreover, the leader of Azerbaijan announced two days ago, on Sunday, ‘we can draw the border ourselves.’ In a sense, this is a threat to Armenia to accept all the demands presented by Azerbaijan or they will draw the border wherever they want," Grigoryan said, addressing the participants of the discussion, asserting that such statements coming from Azerbaijan cannot help but worry the Armenian side.

During the Bratislava discussion, Grigoryan's interlocutor, assistant to the President of Azerbaijan and head of the Foreign Relations Department of the President's Office, Hikmet Hajiyev, believes, however, that Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev's statements are misled in Armenia. Along with that, some statements made by the Armenian side, on the contrary, started to please Hajiyev.

Along with that, the Azerbaijani official noted that on the one hand, Armenia declares that it recognizes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan; on the other hand, Armenia's actions undermine that integrity.

The Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia, however, repeated once again that the claims about the presence of units of the Armed Forces of Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh do not correspond to reality.

"There are no Armenian troops in Nagorno-Karabakh. There is only the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army there, which is needed because the people living there are facing security challenges. If Azerbaijan wants this situation to change, they should create such conditions, such an atmosphere that people will not feel the need for that Defense Army," declared Armen Grigoryan.

According to the secretary of the Security Council of Armenia, the main goal of Yerevan is to achieve lasting peace in the region.

"[Armenian PM] Nikol Pashinyan's team received the mandate to establish peace during the 2021 elections, and the Armenian public supports the establishment of peace," Grigoryan added.

Hikmet Hajiyev, in turn, presented in detail the peace talks that took place in Washington, Brussels, and Moscow in recent weeks, adding that based on the results of those meetings, certain positive expectations were formed in Azerbaijan.

During the discussion, the assistant of the President of Azerbaijan stated again that Baku was ready to ensure the rights of Armenians living in Karabakh within the framework of the Constitution of Azerbaijan. According to Armen Grigoryan, however, this matter should be discussed separately, during direct negotiations, and with the engagement of the international community.

"We say: let's discuss security and rights. Predetermine not the outcome of those talks, but the process. Our desire is to see the international mechanism within which Stepanakert and Baku discuss the rights of Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh," said the secretary of the Security Council of Armenia.

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