Putin, Pashinian discuss Karabakh situation, deal with Azerbaijan

Putin, Pashinian discuss Karabakh situation, deal with Azerbaijan

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed ongoing developments regarding Karabakh in a phone call on Wednesday, according to Azerbaijan in Focus, reporting Daily Sabah, citing a statement by the Kremlin.

According to a Kremlin statement, the two leaders discussed, among other things, ensuring unhindered transport links along the Lachin road-a mountain corridor that Armenia has used to access the Karabakh region now controlled by Azerbaijan.

“The fundamentally important meaning of the consistent implementation of the entire set of agreements of the leaders of Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan in 2020-2022 was emphasized,” it said.

The president confirmed Russia’s readiness to continue to provide practical assistance in the development of the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty.

Putin and Pashinian agreed to stay in touch, the statement added.

France’s ‘hypocrisy and double standards’ on Karabakh

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev accused France of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries under the guise of advocating human rights and international law.

He said Paris was attempting to impose its neocolonial aims in the South Caucasus region, supporting Armenian separatism in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region, through geopolitical rivalries, the presence of foreign military forces, and colonialism.

“France even bans the Corsican language and does not accept the concept of an ethnic minority, but at the same time tries to portray itself as the defender of the Armenian national minority in Azerbaijan,” Aliyev said.

“This is nothing but hypocrisy and double standards,” he stressed, urging French authorities to deal with human rights violations within France instead of lecturing others.

Aliyev called Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2020 Second Karabakh War the “most significant and memorable moment for the Azerbaijani people” ending 30 years of Armenian occupation in the region.

He added that Baku currently faces a number of challenges in the region, as cultural and religious heritage, as well as the environment, were damaged by the Armenian side as they withdrew under a Russian-brokered peace agreement signed on November 9, 2020.

“We were shocked by the scale of destruction in the previously occupied territories. Armenia deliberately destroyed and plundered Azerbaijani towns and villages stone by stone, desecrated and looted all cultural and religious sites, including mosques,” Aliyev said.

Land mines were another “consequence” of Armenia’s presence in Karabakh, he said, claiming that Azerbaijan was one of the countries with the most land mines deployed within its borders.

For peace to take hold in the region, Armenian forces must completely leave the Karabakh region, disarming and demobilizing its military and paramilitary formations on the ground, asserted Aliyev.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

In the fall of 2020, Azerbaijan liberated several cities, villages and settlements from Armenian occupation during 44 days of clashes. The Russia-brokered peace agreement is celebrated as a triumph in Azerbaijan.

Despite the ongoing talks on a peace agreement, tensions between the neighboring countries increased in recent months over the Lachin corridor, the only land route giving Armenia access to Karabakh.