Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s Speech at the Joint Security Council Meeting in Stepanakert
I would like to underscore that, for us, Artsakh’s engagement in the negotiation process is not a whim or even a precondition, but a statement of the fact that Artsakh’s engagement in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is of pivotal importance.
This position reflects our respect not only for the people of Artsakh and its rights, but also all our partners involved in the negotiation process, because we are truly interested in achieving an exclusively peaceful settlement of the conflict, and we believe in the negotiation process, the efficiency of which is a top priority for us, and as I have already mentioned, the issue related to the efficiency of the negotiation process is of pivotal importance.
As a matter of fact, the current framework of the negotiations involves all concerned parties, except one. Azerbaijan is represented by President Aliyev who, by the way, also represents, as he says, the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh, because the representatives of that community participated in the presidential elections in Azerbaijan as citizens of that country and, therefore, gave the President of Azerbaijan the mandate to represent them. Thus, it can be said with confidence that the presence of Azerbaijan’s President at the negotiations table ensures the presence of those Azerbaijanis who used to live in Karabakh before the conflict.
In the negotiation process, the Republic of Armenia is represented by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, who in this case acts as the representative of the people of the Republic of Armenia. Consequently, the citizens of Armenia are also represented in the negotiation process.
The international community is represented in the negotiation process by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. All this, of course, is good and extremely important, and we highly appreciate the efforts made by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs toward the settlement of the conflict.
But the main question is who represents the people of Artsakh, or as it is sometimes referred to, the Armenians of Karabakh in the negotiation process. The problem is that there is no representative who has the mandate, the legitimacy to represent the people of Artsakh in the negotiation process today, as nobody around the negotiation table has received the vote, the mandate of the people of Artsakh or, as some of our partners prefer to refer to, the Armenians of Karabakh.
I have repeatedly stated that the Prime Minister of Armenia cannot have such a mandate as the people of Artsakh are not participating electoral processes in Armenia, they do not vote, therefore, the Prime Minister of Armenia is out of the circle of those who have the legitimacy to represent the people of Artsakh. This is not a matter of whims or a precondition but a matter of legitimacy, and the latter is a key factor in modern-day relations not only in terms of domestic policy, but also in terms of interstate and international relations.