Armenia proposes a peace agenda, not a war agenda to Azerbaijan in the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) settlement, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in an interview to Nezavisimaya Gazeta Russian news agency.
Asked to comment on the remark that he is killing time by demanding Artsakh’s return to the negotiating table or making other demands, the PM questioned whether anyone thinks that the conflict can be resolved overnight.
"If anyone does, then that person has no real understanding of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. During the March 12 joint session of the National Security Councils of the Republic of Armenia and the Artsakh Republic, I said that we propose a peace agenda to Azerbaijan, not a war agenda. We have to work together to settle the issue. If we fail to work together, there will never be a solution, even a military one, since it’s impossible to resolve an issue through military means: it would only deepen the conflict,” he noted.
"Does anyone imagine that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be resolved without the participation of Nagorno-Karabakh? The agenda I am suggesting now is quite a surprise for not only Azerbaijan, but also the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. It will take time for us to discuss all the subtleties in detail in a working environment. I think that during this year both the Azerbaijani authorities and the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have been convinced that we really want to resolve this conflict and really want to reach a peaceful settlement. All our efforts are not aimed at killing time, but resolving the conflict and taking specific steps in that direction,” Pashinyan stressed.
Stressing the need to prepare populations for peace, the PM restated that any settlement to the Artsakh conflict must be acceptable for the people of Armenia, Artsakh and Azerbaijan.
"Unfortunately, we have heard no such statements from the Azerbaijani side so far. When Baku announces that the conflict settlement should be acceptable both for the Azerbaijani and Armenian people, it will be possible to talk about any progress in the peace process,” he stressed.
Asked what concessions Armenia is willing to make to resolve the conflict, Pashinyan stressed that question should not be addressed to only one of the parties.
"It is necessary for all the parties to reply to that question simultaneously, and I am ready to answer this question simultaneously with Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh. But amid bellicose rhetoric from Azerbaijan, Armenia’s statements on readiness to make concessions and compromises can be interpreted as weaknesses. I have always spoke against threatening us with a war. Nothing can frighten us since we are confident in ourselves. Now the Armenian society is experiencing a reincarnation in all respects. We propose [Azerbaijan] to talk about peace, not war,” he said.