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Home » Armenia’s Pashinian Discusses Security In South Caucasus With Macron, Other Leaders

Armenia’s Pashinian Discusses Security In South Caucasus With Macron, Other Leaders

by Hravart Mardirosian
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Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has discussed issues related to security in the South Caucasus with French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders on the sidelines of a summit in Tunisia, which took over the organization’s rotating presidency from Armenia.

The two-day summit of the International Organization of La Francophonie that began in Djerba, a Tunisian island off the Mediterranean coast, on November 19 has brought together leaders of dozens of countries.

Armenia, which became a full member of the organization in 2012, hosted its previous summit in 2018.

According to Pashinian’s press office, during his meeting with Macron the parties “highly appreciated” Armenia’s presidency of the organization and discussed “issues related to the organization’s priorities and future plans.”

The two leaders also reportedly discussed issues related to further development of Armenian-French cooperation.

The official statement said that during the meeting Pashinian and Macron also “exchanged ideas on the results of the quadrilateral meeting of the leaders of Armenia, France, Azerbaijan, and the president of the European Council held in Prague in October this year.”

“The importance of the implementation of steps aimed at strengthening stability and security in the South Caucasus was emphasized. Prime Minister Pashinian stressed the need to eliminate the consequences of Azerbaijani aggression, and of an immediate withdrawal of Azerbaijani units from the sovereign territory of Armenia,” it added.

Yerevan says Azerbaijan currently occupies dozens of square kilometers of sovereign Armenian territory that it captured as a result of a series of incursions made since May 2021. Baku denies the claim.

Nearly 300 soldiers were killed on both sides in border clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan in mid-September, which proved to be the deadliest fighting between the two countries since the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh that claimed the lives of close to 7,000 people.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a conflict over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh for years. Armenian-backed separatists seized the mainly Armenian-populated region from Azerbaijan during a war in the early 1990s that killed some 30,000 people.

The two sides fought another war in 2020 that lasted six weeks and killed thousands of people on both sides before a Russian-brokered cease-fire, resulting in Armenia losing control over parts of the region, which is part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent districts.

Under the cease-fire, Moscow deployed about 2,000 troops to the region to serve as peacekeepers.

During EU-hosted talks in the Czech capital on October 6, Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev confirmed their countries’ commitment to the UN Charter and the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1991 issued after the demise of the Soviet Union, through which both sides recognize each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Pashinan also discussed the results of the Prague meeting with European Council President Charles Michel, whom he met with in Djerba earlier on November 19. The two reportedly emphasized “the importance of the implementation of the agreements reached as part of the Prague Statement and the implementation of steps aimed at strengthening peace and stability in the region.”

Meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the same day, Pashinian reportedly presented “the consequences of the Azerbaijani aggression against the sovereign territory of Armenia and the positions of the Armenian side in the direction of their elimination.”

“The sides exchanged thoughts on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, the processes taking place in the South Caucasus, as well as various issues of mutual interest,” Pashinian’s office added.

Pashinian also raised the issues of what he called Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenia in his speech at the summit.

“We have to record that the fundamental principles of the UN Charter have been violated, in particular, the principle of not using force against the territorial integrity of any country, on which the collective security of all of us is based, thus gradually imposing the ‘law of the strongest.’

“The aggression carried out by Azerbaijan, to which the Republic of Armenia fell victim on September 13-14, is a vivid manifestation of this reality,” he said.

Pashinian stressed that “Azerbaijan’s totally unjustified and unprovoked aggression led to the occupation of a part of Armenia’s territories, causing death and suffering to the civilian population and causing considerable destruction.

“The established cease-fire, however, has not yet put an end to this country’s ambitions for other territories of Armenia.

“Faced with new threats, we expect the international community to make a fair assessment of the situation our country has appeared in today, condemning the occupation of some parts of the Armenian territory and demanding the return of Azerbaijani forces to their initial positions.

“Armenia, for its part, is firmly committed to contributing to the process of achieving a peace treaty with Azerbaijan, as well as ensuring the rights and security of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Pashinian said.

Source : Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty

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