• Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has expressed the urgency for Armenia to define its border with Azerbaijan to prevent possible hostilities.
  • Azerbaijan launched a military campaign last year to regain control of the Karabakh region, ending decades of ethnic Armenian separatist rule.
  • Despite an agreement to negotiate a peace treaty, residents of Armenia’s border regions continue to resist delimitation.

Armenia’s prime minister said on Tuesday that the Caucasus nation must quickly establish the border with neighboring Azerbaijan to prevent a new round of hostilities.

Last year, Azerbaijan launched a lightning-fast military campaign to retake the Karabakh region, ending three decades of rule by ethnic Armenian separatists there.

In December, both sides agreed to begin negotiations on a peace treaty. However, many residents of Armenia’s border regions have resisted the demarcation efforts, seeing it as an encroachment by Azerbaijan into areas they consider their own.

Germany is hosting talks to promote the peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, speaking to residents of the border village of Voskepar in the Tavush region, warned that Armenia’s refusal to demarcate the border could trigger a new confrontation.

Nikol Pashinyan

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan speaks during joint statements with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after their meeting on March 19, 2024 in Yerevan, Armenia. (Stepan Poghosyan/Photolure via AP)

“That would mean a war could break out by the end of the week,” Pashinyan said. He pointed out that the border demarcation should be based on the mutual recognition of the territorial integrity of Armenia and Azerbaijan based on Soviet maps from 1991, when both were still part of the Soviet Union.

“We should not allow the war to start,” Pashinyan said. “And that is also the reason why we decided to draw borders in these parts of Armenia.”

The opposition blamed Pashinyan and organized a long series of protests against him for allowing Azerbaijan to expel ethnic Armenian troops and regain control of Karabakh. The region, known internationally as Nagorno-Karabakh, and much of the surrounding territory came fully under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia after the end of a separatist war in 1994.

Azerbaijan recaptured parts of Karabakh and most of the surrounding territory in a six-week war in 2020. Then last September it launched an airstrike that routed separatist forces in one day and forced them to lay down their arms. Afterwards, more than 100,000 ethnic Armenians fled the region, leaving it virtually deserted.

The hostilities have severely strained relations between Russia and Armenia, with Armenian authorities accusing Russian peacekeepers stationed in Nagorno-Karabakh after the 2020 war of failing to stop Azerbaijan’s attack in September. Moscow, which has a military base in Armenia, rejected the allegations, saying its troops had no mandate to intervene.

Moscow, in turn, is angered by Pashinyan’s efforts to deepen ties with the West and distance his country from a Russian-dominated security alliance of former Soviet states. Russia was also angered by Armenia’s decision to join the International Criminal Court, which last year indicted Russian President Vladimir Putin for alleged war crimes related to the war in Ukraine.

Pashinyan underlined Armenia’s intention to build close ties with the West when he hosted visiting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for talks on Tuesday.

“We want to continue and develop the existing political dialogue and expand our partnership with the alliance and some of its members,” Pashinyan said after the talks.

The Armenian Prime Minister is faced with demands from the military to resign and speaks of a coup

He said Yerevan would welcome NATO’s efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“We expect strong support from the international community, including NATO, for the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” he said.

Stoltenberg, who traveled to Armenia at the conclusion of his three-day tour of the South Caucasus region, which also included visits to Azerbaijan and Georgia, praised Armenia for its contribution to NATO peacekeeping operations, including the alliance’s peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. “NATO supports Armenia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as your peaceful aspirations,” he said.

Stoltenberg stressed the need for Armenia and Azerbaijan to reach an agreement on the normalization of relations, stressing that “this is important for Euro-Atlantic security as we face a more dangerous world.”

During his visit to Azerbaijan on Sunday, the NATO chief encouraged the country to “take advantage of this opportunity to reach a lasting peace agreement with Armenia.”

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *