Nikol Pashinyan, the prime minister of Armenia, following the launch and acceptance of his government’s action plan to “[open] an era of peaceful development for Armenia”, has said there have been some positive signals from Turkey, which his government would respond to in kind. Speaking this morning (27 August) at the start of a regular session of parliament, the Armenian leader stated:
“Returning to the topic of regional peace, I must say that there are some positive public signals from Turkey. We will evaluate those signals, we will respond to the positive signals with a positive signal.”
Pashinyan is thought to have been referring to words by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday (25 August), who according to Daily Sabah said, “We expressed that with the end of the occupation in Nagorno-Karabakh, a new window of opportunity has opened in our region for lasting peace and that we will do what is necessary if Armenia considers it.”
Pashinyan also referenced the situation regarding the Azerbaijani closure of sections of the Goris-Kapan interstate – the main road to the south of Armenia’s Syunik region, some of which, according to Soviet-era maps, lies outside the borders of Soviet Armenia. Whilst the prime minister said that it was “predictable” and clear to him that this was intended “to strike at the peace agenda that we have put forward, to discredit that agenda”, that Armenia needed to “develop and advance [its] strategic line, [which is] the peace agenda”. He said that the reopening of the roads in the parts of Eyvazli and Chaizam “can be a very good symbol of regional stability”. He said that in any case, Armenia must implement its programmes of repairing and overhauling inter-community and national roads to ensure connectvity, particularly in the Syunik region, by the end of the year.
He mentioned again that the Azerbaijani side had claimed that the closures were connected to an incident of an Azerbaijani solider being stabbed; however, that preliminary inspections had shown “the Armenian side has nothing to do with the alleged incident”. He said that it would be desirable for the Azerbaijani side to pass any information about the situation over, and expressed Armenia’s readiness to open a joint investigation with the participation of Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russia representatives over the alleged incident.