Armenian prime minister says peace treaty with Azerbaijan may be signed by year’s end

Armenian prime minister says peace treaty with Azerbaijan may be signed by year’s end

Nikol Pashinyan says normalization between Azerbaijan, Karabakh region condition for signing treaty with Baku

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Tuesday that a peace treaty with Azerbaijan may be signed by the end of the year.

Pashinyan named normalization between Azerbaijan and the Karabakh region as the condition for signing the treaty with Baku.

"If the Baku-Stepanakert (administrative center of Karabakh) dialogue begins ... will this be an opportunity to sign a peace treaty before the end of the year? I think so," he said at a news conference in Yerevan.

The probability of a clause in the treaty related to Karabakh, which will suit all parties, is very low, he said.

"If it were not for the low probability, peace would have already been made," said Pashinyan.

Work on the treaty is currently underway, however, a draft agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan is not ready to be signed, he noted.

The prime minister stressed that Armenia cannot decide the fate of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh -- have to negotiate security guarantees in talks with Baku.

Asked about the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeepers from the region, Pashinyan said it would be possible "when there is no threat to the lives of the people in Nagorno-Karabakh."

He also called Russia's position on the Karabakh problem as "honest," saying Armenia has been an independent state for 30 years but continues "to appeal to the Russian czar" when facing problems.

Commenting on talks Tuesday of the Armenia, Azerbaijani and Russian foreign ministers in Moscow, Pashinyan said he expects they will be able to agree on several more points of the peace treaty and solutions will be found for the opening of the Lachin corridor.

The Armenian prime minister also stressed that Armenia cannot live in war conditions for a long time or it will return to the times when people did not have a state.

He also said to ensure security, Armenia is actively working to expand the list of countries where the republic buys weapons, and noted the defense minister visited France several times and expressed hope that the visits "will give a concrete result."

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

In the fall of 2020, Azerbaijan liberated several cities, villages and settlements from Armenian occupation during 44 days of fighting. The war ended with a Russia-brokered peace agreement.

Despite ongoing talks on a peace agreement, tensions between the neighboring countries increased in recent months concerning the Lachin corridor -- the only land route giving Armenia access to Karabakh.



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