Excerpt relating to Artsakh from PM Nikol Pashinyan’s interview with the Public Television of Armenia
Petros Ghazaryan - Mr. Pashinyan, the Internet has been turned upside down again in recent days by a publication of Haqqin.az. You are blamed for secret negotiations held with Aliyev, for sending out emissaries, while you always kept stating that you were working transparently in all matters related to Artsakh. And secondly, you are blamed for negotiating a phased settlement of the conflict, which implies handing over several regions. Your comment, please….
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - I referred to information security issues of late, saying that if an article was published somewhere, even on a third-party website, stating that Artsakh has been “sold,” it would cause storms in Armenia. The above publication suggested that secret negotiations had been held through one of my advisers.
I wish to make it clear that following the Velvet Revolution, only two people in the government had the authority to negotiate over the Artsakh issue: I mean the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and myself. No one else had the authority to negotiate or discuss the issue, so the publication’s allegation is complete nonsense.
Here, I would like to stress that there was another official, the Director of the National Security Service, who played a certain role in ensuring operative communication between me and the President of Azerbaijan. But it was a so-called service function, that is, he did not have the authority to negotiate over the Karabakh issue.
Petros Ghazaryan - Mr. Prime Minister, but you seem to be indirectly responding to the allegation by saying that Aliyev should not disclose the so-called closed arrangements, because if we did so…
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - No. I said the so-called confidential information. I just talked about confidential information without quotation marks. In other words, that publication was not what I meant as “confidential information.”
There is a circumstance that I did not talk about for 2 years by virtue of courtesy, but considering the incomprehensible behavior of the President of Azerbaijan, I feel the time has come to refer to it. I am said to have asked for time in Dushanbe, or after the 2018 revolution, in general…
Petros Ghazaryan - To settle your domestic affairs inside the country…
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - Yes, I asked for time in Dushanbe, when the agreement was being reached. It is obvious that Armenia is interested in maintaining the ceasefire, but why was Azerbaijan or the President of Azerbaijan interested in having such an agreement?
After analyzing the facts some opposition figures came to the conclusion that the only option is that a conspiracy has taken place, and the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan concurs with that opinion. Now, I can disclose a very important nuance about who actually applied to whom in Dushanbe.
Petros Ghazaryan - And?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - In fact, it was not me who applied to the President of Azerbaijan, but the President of Azerbaijan was the one to address me with a request. You may remember that the Mayor of Yerevan was being elected at that time, and we practically had rallies every day.
It turned out that due to a number of circumstances, even before that, I referred to the situation in Azerbaijan in some of my speeches, trying to initiate a dialogue with the people of Azerbaijan. In fact, I sometimes voiced criticism about the state of affairs in Azerbaijan. Ilham Aliyev sought to ask me to refrain from such rhetoric about his country, about Azerbaijan for a very simple reason.
Petros Ghazaryan – To prevent the tide from moving on to Azerbaijan…
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - The revolution had just taken place; the world was excited about it, especially the opposition forces in our region; it was widely discussed on Azerbaijani social networks that this wave would soon reach Azerbaijan. My remarks could actually provoke certain political processes in Azerbaijan.
Petros Ghazaryan - Did Aliyev ask you in person?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - Yes. And I myself wrote the points of the Dushanbe agreements on a handwritten piece of paper, in a notebook. We discussed those points and we came to an agreement. Am I satisfied or not that such an agreement has been reached?
Yes, because, firstly, Azerbaijan’s internal affairs are not on my agenda at all, and secondly, I thereby saved the lives of several soldiers, Armenian soldiers. But what is the whole context here? Today the President of Azerbaijan asserts that he did not avail himself of the opportunity then, and instead he was generous enough to give a chance to Armenia.
In fact, the opposite is true; at that time, Aliyev was not concerned about Karabakh or anything else. He was concerned about one thing, namely that the revolutionary tide could not reach Azerbaijan. This fact and the subsequent developments came to show that the Karabakh issue was not a matter of national interest for the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan, but only a means of continuing in office and maintaining the authoritarian system of governance, and we can witness it today.