Pashinyan discusses Sargissian's resignation and relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan in a wide ranging meeting with the media

The prime minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, answered questions from the media about the resignation of the Armenian president, Armen Sargissian, the normalisation of relations with Turkey, and Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, in a wide ranging meeting with media outlets and NGOs on Monday, 24 January.

Asked about Sargissian’s resignation, Pashinyan said that he had spoken to the President prior to his decision, and acknowledged that they held different stances on the issue of changes to the Constitution. However, he added that no discussions had yet been held on the next candidate as this was an issue which needed to be seriously discussed, and “guided by the experience of the past four years”. He appealed to the common responsibility of the government to find a solution in the face of the current challenges, noting that he didn’t think “we should make experiments. We must solve the issue of political harmony for the sake of the Republic of Armenia”.

On the issue of relations with Azerbaijan and the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, the prime minister said that a peace treaty should be signed, but that negotiations had to take place first. He stated that there were a number of issues which needed to be discussed before a full agreement could be reached but noted that Armenia was ready for these talks to begin. Asked about whether Armenia would recognise Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, he referred to a 1992 agreement ratified by Armenia, which recognised the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and the inviolability of its borders. He also noted that Azerbaijan had ratified a similar agreement.

Pashinyan also affirmed that unblocking transport links would bring more advantages than problems to Armenia. In particular, he noted the potential economic benefits of the railway connecting Armenia with Russia and Iran.

Pashinyan said that Armenia was “sincere” in its willingness to open the Armenia-Turkey border. While both Armenia and Turkey have announced they want to normalise relations without preconditions, the Armenian PM stated that there had also been no pre-conditions at the start of the 2009 protocols, but that these had appeared later on. However, he noted that things were different this time, and that it was important to understand how interested the parties were, adding that this had never been the case before. He also said that Armenia would most likely accept Turkey’s invitation to participate in the Antalya Diplomatic Forum, but that it depended on the situation at the moment.

source: with agencies
photo: Nikol Pashinyan; Office of the president of Armenia