YEREVAN, May 22. /TASS/. Yerevan recognizes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, which includes Nagorno-Karabakh, provided that the safety of its Armenian population is ensured, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at a press conference on Monday.
"Armenia recognizes Azerbaijan’s territory of 86,600 square kilometers, assuming that Azerbaijan is willing to recognize the territorial integrity of Armenia’s 29,800 square kilometers. Azerbaijan’s 86,600 square kilometer territory includes Nagorno-Karabakh but we would like to point out that the issue of the rights and safety of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenians should be discussed between Baku and Stepenakert," Pashinyan said.
He also requested international safeguards for the safety and rights of Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh, expressing concern that without them, Azerbaijan could allegedly carry out ethnic cleansing in the region.
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the breakup of the Soviet Union, but which was 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. Renewed clashes erupted on September 27, 2020, with intense battles raging in the disputed region. On November 9, 2020, 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. According to the document, Azerbaijan and Armenia maintained the positions that they had held, while a number of districts were handed over to Baku and Russian peacekeepers were deployed along the line of contact and the Lachin Corridor. Later, the three countries’ leaders adopted several more joint statements on the situation in the region. Last year, Azerbaijan and Armenia began peace treaty talks.