Pashinyan’s latest statement on Nagorno-Karabakh is ‘startling’: Matthew Bryza

The statement voiced by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan yesterday that there is no diplomatic solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and every Armenian should pick up weapons to fight is startling, Matthew Bryza, former U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan and former OSCE Minsk Group co-chair, told News.Az.

“It [statement] is one of the reckless things I’ve ever heard certainly in the South Caucasus by any leader,” Bryza said. “The statement also shows that he [Pashinyan] is desperate and really has no idea what to do. He also knows that Armenia is going to lose.”

“It could be that Pashinyan is trying to pull Russia into the fighting to save him and Armenia. Because in his statement, Pashinyan is also talking about the fact that the Armenian people need to take up arms to fight for their homeland and protect it,” he noted. 

The Azerbaijani Army is not fighting on the Armenian territory, said the former diplomat, adding. “I don’t think Pashinyan’s that approach will work, and Russia will not involve if the fighting remains on the Azerbaijani territory.”

Bryza stressed that Pashinyan is under intense pressure from nationalists.

“The other thing I can imagine is that Pashinyan is under intense pressure from extreme nationalists of the Dashnaktsutyun organization, their branches in the U.S., as well as the Armenian National Community of America, which blocked my nomination as ambassador to Azerbaijan. All they want is Greater Armenia, they want to fighting they don't want a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” he said.

The former diplomat pointed out that the extreme nationalists want to recover Armenian territory as they see it in Turkey that is why they've made an embrace of the Treaty of Sevres, which would have taken territory from Turkey and given it to Armenia.

“This is a centerpiece of their official foreign policy. There is a huge mistake and giant blender, which shows the naivety of PM Pashinyan but also huge pressure he is under from those nationalists and maybe from Armenian business oligarchs both in Yerevan and Moscow, who like the fact that there is unsettled situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. Because they can profit from it, they can make a lot of money from the illegality that can transpire,” he said.

Bryza continued: “Those are the only ways I can understand what Pashinyan was thinking, what is likely to happen now is that at some point Armenians are going to have to agree to stop fighting and then go back to the negotiating table as Pashinyan agreed in the October 9 ceasefire agreement and as Azerbaijan and Russia have said on the basis of the basic principles without Nagorno-Karabakh participating in the talks. There is equality for Armenia and Azerbaijan. It will be just negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia to finalize the basic principles that both countries agreed to in January 2009.”


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