Armenia’s Prime Minister Says He’s Ready To Meet Azerbaijan’s President For Talks On Karabakh

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has expressed readiness to meet Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to discuss further steps to regulate the situation in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as being part of Azerbaijan, but the entire territory and seven surrounding districts were controlled by ethnic Armenian forces from the early 1990s until recently.

The two sides have skirmished regularly over the years.

Internationally mediated negotiations under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) involving the so-called Minsk Group co-chaired by Russia, the United States, and France have been unable to produce a lasting settlement of the conflict.

In September 2020, Azerbaijan launched a military offensive that resulted in Baku regaining control of the seven surrounding districts and a significant chunk of Nagorno-Karabakh itself.

Speaking to members of the Armenian diaspora in Lithuania, Pashinian on October 3 said that it would be possible to discuss the issue at the level of the two countries’ foreign ministers.

“In my recent speech in the United Nations, I stated that the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh is awaiting its solution, and I can say that we have hailed several times the statements by the OSCE’s Minsk Group about the necessity to regulate the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and reestablish the peace process,” Pashinian’s press service quoted him as saying.

Pashinian also said that he is ready to hand all mine maps to the Azerbaijani side in exchange for Armenian military personnel captured by the Azerbaijani Army during last year’s 44-day war.

Last week, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said he was ready to meet with Pashinian if such a meeting were organized by the OSCE Minsk Group.