YEREVAN, October 19. /TASS/. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan considers the issue of acknowledging Nagorno-Karabakh’s right to self-determination by Azerbaijan crucial in the process of settling the conflict around the disputed region.
"I have repeatedly said, and that has been Armenia’s stance virtually at all times, that the right to self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh, meaning the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, is strategically important for us," the leader stated when asked by TASS whether Yerevan is ready to begin the settlement with a phased transfer of seven regions around Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan, while Armenia retains the Lachinsk corridor until the final status of Karabakh is defined. "You have mentioned the option, and Armenia was ready to accept that or something similar to that decision several years ago. There was just one nuance here, what is going to happen with the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. I mean particularly the Kazan initiative as well," he added.
"I do not consider that very reasonable or pragmatic to make a decision focusing on some important issues and neglecting other important points. It is necessary to understand Azerbaijan’s answer to the same or similar question. Is it ready to acknowledge the right to self-determination for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh?" Pashinyan questioned.
According to the Kazan formula put together at Russia’s initiative over ten years ago under the OSCE Minsk Group, at the first stage, with security conditions for Nagorno-Karabakh observed, Armenia should transfer five out of seven ‘buffer regions’ around the disputed territory. Two regions, including the Lachinsk corridor, should remain to ensure the connection between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh until the issue of its final status is solved. Concurrently, Azerbaijan should remove the economic blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh, while peacekeeping forces are to be introduced on the line of contact between the sides to guarantee that military actions are not resumed.
The two remaining regions connecting Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are suggested to be transferred to Azerbaijan at the second stage. At the same stage, the issue of the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh should be solved as well.