Armenian PM explains “what could have been different” and calls for unity to solve urgent issues

In a lengthy post on Facebook, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has explained what could be an alternative to the current situation and outlined the urgent issues to be solved now:

Of course, it makes a lot of sense to go back and answer the question, what would have been different if it had not been this way.

So, the Armenian side stated at the highest level and publicly that in 2011 in Kazan was ready to hand over the 7 regions in exchange for an interim status and a further referendum on the status of , but Azerbaijan did not agree and put forward new demands.

There is a video proving this, it is available on the Internet. In other words, back in 2011 Armenia undertook to hand over the 7 regions and was ready to sign an agreement on that, but Azerbaijan put forward new demands.

What demand scould have been put forward by Azerbaijan? For example, to remove the status of Karabakh from the agenda altogether, not to grant the Lachin corridor a special status. The issue of Shushi, by the way, is not in not among these new demands, because it is also resolved by the Madrid principles, which the Armenian side accepted in 2007 as a basis for negotiations. It clearly states that the population of Nagorno-Karabakh must have the same proportion as in 1988. In other words, there should be 90% and more of Azeri population in Shushi.

So, we have had this situation since 2011, and since 2013 Azerbaijan has been going to military escalation. In 2013-2015, the escalation with the logic of subversive actions reached its peak, leading to the four-day war in April 2016.

Azerbaijan formulated its above-mentioned demands, regardless of the document put on the table by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. The demands of Azerbaijan and their fulfillment by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs became a priority because the alternative was war.

Assuming the post of the Prime Minister of Armenia in 2018, I have naturally took note of this. And in this situation, let’s understand what was the alternative to what happened?

The alternative was to address the people and say we either have to hand over the 7 regions without the status of Karabakh, or there will be а war. What вould people say? They вould have said ‘no, we will stand up and fight for our homeland.’ And the war would start and it would turn out that Armenia started a war.

Had I said no, we have to surrender, people would have said “Nikol is traitor” and another war would have started.

At any stage, including during the Turkish-Azerbaijani military exercises, I could go to the Turks and say, “Let’s solve the issue without war.” They would have said “give a specific schedule when you hand over the territories.” If I signed, people would have said “Nicole the traitor”, if I didn’t signed, war would have started.

As of 2018, the Karabakh issue was a deadlock, from which there was only one way out – unconditional handover of territories, without guaranteeing that Azerbaijan would not make new demands. And in the context of these new demands, increasing the likelihood of war again.

Many now say that we needed to work more closely with our friends. But who said that the friends had a different vision of resolving the issue? Isn’t it obvious now that that vision completely coincides with the one described above?

What have we done? We have prepared for war as much as possible. Now it turned out that we were badly prepared. But what are we badly prepared for? The July battles showed that we were not poorly prepared to fight against Azerbaijan. But Turkey, mercenaries, this is another story that will still be talked about.

They say we had to stop the war sooner. The price to stop the war sooner was the same. Handover of 7 districts. If handing over 3 districts in the conditions of a deadly threat to the loss of Shushi and Stepanakert is a betrayal, how could the handing over of 7 districts in relatively better conditions not be a betrayal?

Well, what should we do now? We must stabilize the situation and not make it worse. The most important issue now is the issue of captives, missing persons and those who have possibly sheltered somewhere, which must be resolved very quickly.

But let’s look at this issue through the eyes of the opposite side. He sees that the delay in this issue allows the conflict to deepen inside Armenia, even to start clashes inside, the mini-manifestations of which have already taken place.

Relatives of our soldiers, dear ones, will they accelerate the solution of the issue of prisoners and missing people in these conditions? Of course not: On the contrary, they will prolong it as long as possible, rubbing their hands and waiting for what new disasters this will lead to inside us.

You will ask a very right question: what should we do, not fight? Definitely fight, fight stronger, but not against each other, but together. For the solution of the issue. The solution of the issue will accelerate only in one case. if everyone understands that there will be no internal conflicts over this issue.

Who is guilty of what and what responsibility he will have to bear will definitely be established. But now we need to focus on solving the problem together, not fighting each other. I am convinced of this.

Read original article here.