Armenia will accept Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan subject to rights guarantee, Russian state news reports
Illustrative photo — An ethnic Armenian soldier looks through binoculars as he stands at fighting positions near the village of Taghavard in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, January 11, 2021. REUTERS/Artem Mikryukov
(Reuters) - Armenia is ready to recognise the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave as part of Azerbaijan if Baku guarantees the security of its ethnic Armenian population, the Russian state news agency TASS and the Russian news outlet Ostorozhno, Novosti quoted Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan as saying on Monday.
Nagorno-Karabakh has been a source of conflict between the two Caucasus neighbours since the years leading up to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and between ethnic Armenians and Turkic Azeris for well over a century.
In 2020, Azerbaijan seized control of areas that had been controlled by ethnic Armenians in and around the mountain enclave, and since then it has periodically closed the only access road linking Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, on which the enclave relies for financial and military support.
“The 86,600 sq km of Azerbaijan's territory includes Nagorno-Karabakh,” Pashinyan told a news conference, according to Ostorozhno, Novosti (Caution, News).
"If we understand each other correctly, then Armenia recognises the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within the named limits, and Baku - the territorial integrity of Armenia at 29,800 sq km."
The outlet quoted him as saying he was prepared to do this - in effect accept Azerbaijan's internationally recognised borders - if the rights of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh were guaranteed. He said the issue should be discussed in talks between the two countries.
"Armenia remains committed to the peace agenda in the region. And we hope that in the near future we will come to an agreement on the text of the peace treaty and be able to sign it," he said, according to TASS.
(Writing by Kevin Liffey; Editing by William Maclean)