Pashinyan warns of danger of new war

Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, accused Azerbaijan of attempting to legitimize a new war by slowing down the peace process. Speaking on Monday (27 June) during an evening press conference, Pashinyan asserted that there was no alternative to the peace agenda with Azerbaijan and Turkey, adding that Armenia was doing its best resolve the conflicts with both countries and open an era of peaceful relations.

However, he condemned Azerbaijan for failing to take the necessary steps, alleging that Baku had repeatedly turned down meetings, refused to return Armenian detainees and refrained from considering draft plans on the opening of regional communications. In particular, he announced that Azerbaijan had refused to participate in a meeting of the Secretary of the Armenian Security Council and the Adviser to the President of Azerbaijan, scheduled on Monday.  Pashinyan said that Azerbaijan was trying to create the impression that it was Armenia who was delaying the process, while Azerbaijan tried to ensure that Armenia remained “in a blockade”.

The Armenian prime minister also laid some of the blame on Turkey, calling its insistence on the two normalizations processes be linked “not useful”. He said that statements, such as those made on Monday by the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, calling for “the immediate opening of the Zanzegur corridor”, were hindered and delaying the process.

Nevertheless, he spoke optimistically about the potential for normalisation with Turkey. While he acknowledged that there had perhaps not been many tangible results, he pointed to the resumption of direct flights between the neighbours as a sign that negotiations were moving things forward.