Armenian FM: Karabakh can never be part of Azerbaijan

According to Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, the essence of the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process is that “Karabakh can never be part of Azerbaijan.”

The top Armenian diplomat stated this on Armenian Public TV on Wednesday, reflecting on speculations about a new document on the negotiation table for settling the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.

Shortly after ceasefire was agreed by Armenia and Azerbaijan on April 5 to stop deadly fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced in Baku that a Karabakh settlement deal was “practically ready” and that all elements of that deal were “on the table.”

Later, Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan confirmed that the matter concerned a 2011 Russian proposal that was discussed by the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan at a Russia-mediated summit in Kazan, but was rejected by Azerbaijan.

Speaking on Public TV, Nalbandian also addressed criticism voiced over Russia’s stance during the latest Karabakh crisis and challenging the current state of Armenian-Russian relations.

“Armenian-Russian relations are not of a business nature, they are allied not only in word but also have a legal framework. This is obvious to all, including to Azerbaijan,” Minister Nalbandian emphasized.

The top Armenian diplomat also highlighted the depth of Armenian-Russian relations, saying:

“It is not Azerbaijan that hosts a Russia military base, it is not Azerbaijan that is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), it is not Azerbaijan that has dozens of agreements with Russia relating to the defense, military and industrial spheres. It was not Azerbaijan, which signed [in 2010] the fifth protocol [on the military base in Armenia] with Russia. The list may be continued.”

Nalbandian also said that Armenia will raise the issue of the positions of some of its allies at an upcoming CSTO Foreign Ministers’ Summit in Yerevan.