23 May 2023 22:05

Recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan 'red line' - president of unrecognized republic

YEREVAN. May 23 (Interfax) - The president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh republic, Arayik Harutyunyan, has called on Armenian authorities to drop their recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as a part of Azerbaijan.

"Artsakh [the Armenian name for Nagorno-Karabakh] never was and never will be Azerbaijan's. I am asking the Armenian authorities to refrain from any acts and statements recognizing Artsakh as a part of Azerbaijan, and stick to the obligations assumed by domestic and international documents," Harutyunyan said in a statement released by his press service on Tuesday.

Aware of Armenia's vulnerable post-war position, "we were understanding of various events and tolerated, and continue tolerating, consciously the many deprivations so as to neutralize any attempt to force Armenia into concessions," he said.

"However, there are clear principles and red lines that we consider unacceptable and impermissible to cross. And the recognition of Artsakh as being part of Azerbaijan is one such red line and we are certain it remains so for a majority of all Armenians," the statement said.

Harutyunyan also appealed to Russian authorities and President Vladimir Putin, asking them to ensure that the obligation to open the Lachin corridor, assumed under the November 3, 2020 three-way statement of the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, is fulfilled.

"Regardless of the behavior of the other signatories of the trilateral statement, Russia has assumed clear obligations, which were a serious ground for ensuring the return of the Artsakh people after the war. So we expect strict and resolute adherence to these obligations in the name of the people of Artsakh and Russia's interests and the centuries-long friendship between Armenian and Russian people," the statement said.

Azerbaijani people and authorities must "put an end to the policy of hatred and genocide towards the people of Artsakh and be ready to sincerely accept the principle of equality of peoples," Harutyunyan said.

"We are ready for dialogue in an international format, for conflict settlement and peace, but only in line with the norms and principles of international law such as nations' rights to equality and self-determination, the non-use of force, peaceful resolution of disputes and the principle of territorial integrity. We are posing no threat to Azerbaijan, but on the other hand, the people of Artsakh have the right to self-defense and the Republic of Artsakh must protect its people," the statement said.

Pashinyan told a press conference last Monday that a 86,600-square kilometer area recognized by Armenia as Azerbaijan's also includes Nagorno-Karabakh.