22 Feb 2023 16:39

Yerevan receives confirmation of Azerbaijan's readiness for dialogue with Karabakh - Armenian FM

YEREVAN. Feb 22 (Interfax) - Azerbaijan has assured Armenia of the readiness to begin dialogue with Stepanakert, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said.

"When we initiated a discussion of the peace treaty with Azerbaijan, we agreed on holding these negotiations on two main tracks, namely, on a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan and on a platform where the rights and security of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians will be addressed. Azerbaijan was avoiding that for a long time, yet in Munich we received Azerbaijani assurances of the readiness for a visible international dialogue between Baku and Stepanakert," Mirzoyan said at a joint press conference with Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn in Yerevan on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) said on Wednesday that "the attempts of Azerbaijan at interfering in the domestic political life in Artsakh [the Armenian name for Nagorno-Karabakh], same as its vision of a dialogue between Stepanakert and Baku are also categorically unacceptable for Stepanakert."

"In this context, we emphasize yet again that a comprehensive settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict should be achieved through negotiations, which will ensure equal rights of the sides and will not set conditions predetermining results of the negotiating process," it said.

"We also believe that, in this context, it would be necessary to reinstate an international mediating format as an additional guarantee of the irreversibility of the peace process. We emphasize yet again that results of illegal use of force or a threat to use force by Azerbaijan cannot serve as a starting point on the path to peace, stability and security," the ministry said.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Ilham Aliyev said at a plenary meeting of the Munich Security Conference that Baku is ready to engage in practical communication with Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians on the condition that NKR State Minister Ruben Vardanyan leaves the territory.

NKR President Arayik Harutyunyan is planning to make a televised address on February 23. The Armenian media said that Harutyunyan might announce Vardanyan's resignation as the state minister and the appointment of NKR Prosecutor General Gurgen Nersisyan as his replacement.

Meanwhile, Vardanyan's advisor Mesrop Arakelyan told the Armenian media that Vardanyan was not going to resign and would not leave Nagorno-Karabakh in case of his dismissal.