Mnatsakanyan: peaceful settlement of Karabakh conflict is possible only through mutual concessions

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YEREVAN, April 22. /ARKA/. A peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict is possible only through mutual concessions with a clear definition of status and security measures, Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan stated on Tuesday.

Earlier today, Russian Foreign Minister Serge Lavrov said that a draft settlement option based on the so-called phased approach, proposed on April 15, 2019 in Moscow, was being actively discussed by the parties to the conflict. According to Lavrov, the documents envisage the solution of the most pressing problems at the first stage – the ‘liberation’ of a number of areas around Nagorno-Karabakh and the unblocking of transport, economic and other communications.

“A peaceful settlement is possible only on the basis of mutual concessions. The Armenian side will never make unilateral concessions. Such a move may imply a violation of security principles, a threat to the people of Artsakh, especially since these threats continue to be real and existential,” Mnatsakanyan said at a news conference.

The Minister emphasized that for the Armenian side, the right of peoples to self-determination, which can be achieved as a result of a peaceful negotiation process, is more than a priority principle.

Regarding the issue of handing some areas around Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan, Mnatsakanyan emphasized that they are, first of all, a security zone and a line of defense.

“In no way can the Armenian side even suggest a revision of this position, thereby jeopardizing the security of the people of Artsakh,” the Armenian Foreign Minister emphasized.

Mnatsakanyan stated that Armenia has repeatedly emphasized the supremacy of the people’s right to self-determination, which means specifying the status through free expression of will without any restrictions in the framework of the peace negotiation process.

“This has been and remains Armenia’s approach and this has been said for two years in all negotiations. If someone thinks that we can say one thing in the negotiations and tell the public completely different, then they are deeply mistaken,” he said.

The Foreign Minister noted that Armenia has always emphasized that it is responsible for a peaceful settlement and will continue to take the same position; however, it does not have a mandate to represent the Artsakh people.

Recalling that the presidential elections were held in Artsakh on April 14, Mnatsakanyan noted that Yerevan always consulted with the former authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh and will continue discussions with the new ones.

“Not a single decision on the Karabakh settlement can be made without the Artsakh people. This is the primary principle on which the Armenian side has been working for two years. This process has no alternative, as well as a peaceful settlement, since the authorities of the two Armenian states are categorical in the issue of protection of their people,” he said.

Speaking about the documents proposed during the negotiations, Mnatsakanyan stated that over the past two years, the Armenian government, headed by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, has been more than transparent in informing the public about the negotiation process.

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