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Pashinyan says conflict could have been avoided only if Armenia gave up land near Karabakh

Pashinyan added that the events in Karabakh are a tragedy, noting that he is personally responsible for what happened

YEREVAN, November 10. /TASS/. The conflict between the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) and Azerbaijan could only have been avoided if Yerevan had agreed to give up five districts around Karabakh, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Tuesday during a live feed on Facebook.

"Could the war have been prevented? Yes, if we had agreed to give up five areas around Karabakh. But in this case, the matter of Karabakh’s status would not have been fully resolved either. What would you have told me if I had asked you whether we should give up the territories around Karabakh? I think no one would have agreed to that, myself included," he said.

Pashinyan added that the events in Karabakh are a tragedy, noting that he is personally responsible for what happened.

On November 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh since 00:00 Moscow Time on November 10. The Russian leader said the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides would remain on the positions they held and Russian peacekeepers would be deployed to the region.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians.

The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs - Russia, France and the United States.