Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has expressed his commitment to signing a peace agreement with Azerbaijan in the coming months and establishing diplomatic relations after decades of conflict between the neighbours.
The remarks came on Thursday, just weeks after Baku recaptured the region of Nagorno-Karabakh from ethnic-Armenian separatists.
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“We are currently working on the draft agreement with Azerbaijan on peace and the normalisation of relations, and I hope this process will successfully conclude in the coming months,” Pashinyan said in an address to an international economic forum in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.
He said the future peace treaty would be based on the mutual recognition of the Caucasus neighbours’ Soviet-era borders.
Azerbaijani Prime Minister Ali Asadov also said at the forum that Baku has been committed to peace and restoring transport links with Armenia since 2020. Still, progress hinged on Yerevan’s willingness to act.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said previously that a peace treaty with Yerevan could be signed by the end of the year.
Last month, Azerbaijan launched an offensive to retake Nagorno-Karabakh, which is internationally viewed as Azerbaijan’s territory but has been ruled by ethnic Armenian separatists since the 1990s.
The offensive prompted the mass exodus of most of Karabakh’s 120,000 ethnic Armenians.
Pashinyan’s comments come amid efforts to cement peace in the region, but progress has been patchy, and border skirmishes have continued.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, the Armenian leader also said he sees no advantage in continuing to host Russian military bases on its territory.
Russia’s military presence in Armenia includes a garrison in two locations and an airbase.
Moscow has long regarded itself as the guarantor of Armenia’s security in the South Caucasus, a region crisscrossed with oil and gas pipelines.
Responding to the comments, the Kremlin said on Thursday it hoped that Armenian authorities would clarify Pashinyan’s position.
Relations have soured between Russia and Armenia in recent months, with Yerevan accusing Moscow of failing to support it against Azerbaijan, with which Russia is also allied.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been involved in a 30-year-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The two countries have had no diplomatic relations, and their common border remains heavily fortified.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies