Nikol Pashinyan Proposes a Solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani Border Situation
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Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan chaired a special sitting of the Security Council held today. Besides the members of the Security Council, National Assembly Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan, Acting Minister of Territorial Administration Suren Papikyan, head of the My Step faction of the National Assembly Lilit Makunts, secretary of the Prosperous Armenia faction Arman Abovyan, head of the Bright Armenia faction Edmon Marukyan, Chairman of the RA NA Standing Committee on Defense and Security Andranik Kocharyan, and Chairman of the RA NA Standing Committee on Foreign Relations Ruben Rubinyan also participated.
The Armenian-Azerbaijani border situation was discussed, and Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan made a proposal in that regard. In his speech, Mr. Pashinyan noted the following:
“Dear colleagues, I am returning from Gegharkunik region, specifically from the Kut village section of our border areas. I have become acquainted with the situation while I was there, and I want to share my impressions with you, but, in addition to sharing my impressions, I want to also propose a solution to the situation.
The situation is tense and the tension is increasing. This means that not only is it statically tense, but it is continually becoming tenser, and tensions will most likely continue to grow. Why? Because in the events of the last 15 days, our soldiers and the Azerbaijani soldiers who have infiltrated our territory, the subdivisions, are in a state of mutual engagement. In other words, they are not only finding themselves face-to-face, but it is in fact a mixed engagement situation.
And why is the situation going to become more tense? Not only because there have been various incidents and that tension may eventually result in an eruption of the situation, but also because after today’s incident there is the possibility that members of our armed forces will also attempt to take captives and then the other side will try to retaliate, and so on. And my assessment is that, if the situation is not resolved, this provocation will inevitably turn into a clash, a large-scale clash.
I do not want to repeat the assessments that I have already made publicly several times; rather, I want to offer a solution, a peaceful diplomatic solution to the situation, which will bring about de-escalation.
You are aware that Azerbaijan explains its actions, attempts to justify them, with some sort of maps, and that our and their ideas about the location of the border line and geography differ. We, of course, do not share that assessment and have a clear position on that. However, since the circumstances have reached this explosive situation, I am making make this open proposal to the international community. I am doing this in front of the Armenian people, and the proposal is also addressed to the governemnt of Azerbijan.
The proposal is the following: We agree that very soon the armed units of both sides – that is, the units of the armed forces – will leave the border in mirrored fashion. In other words, there are notions about the border, 5 kilometers this way and that, there is a difference of certain kilometers - one, two, three. Presumably, we suggest that the armed forces as a whole return from these areas to their permanent bases and that instead, international observers from Russia or the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs be deployed along the purported border.
The presence of observers in the region is necessary for the parties to be sure that the other side is abiding by the agreement, meaning it is not bringing troops closer to the border. By the way, I want to emphasize that we are talking about the Sotk-Khoznavar area. This is the area in which borden tensions have arisen in this instance. After that, the border checkpoints will be adjusted again under the international auspices. In this case, again, my idea is that observers from Russia or the OSCE Minsk Group should be involved and that this process should take place under the auspices of Russia or the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
This is the proposal. This is my suggested plan. If Azerbaijan truly has a problem with the clarification of border points, then it should have no reason to reject this plan. We, for our part, are convinced that we can substantiate our position and point of view to all international observers. Maybe they also have their share of trust, but it is not about that; this is about de-escalating the situation at this stage, about achieving a peaceful diplomatic solution.
And this can be considered an official proposal addressed to Russia, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries, and of course Azerbaijan. As such, I hope this proposal will be accepted.
To be honest, after getting acquainted with the situation on the ground, I came to the conclusion that this is the shortest, most effective, and most reasonable way to resolve the situation, because, I repeat, if we do not go this route, the situation will inevitably get out of control, and we can not allow that. In addition to this proposal, we will of course begin active consultations with our international partners. We have already discussed this topic with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and I hope that we will have an opportunity to start implementing the proposal soon.”