Nikol Pashinyan’s response to Ilham Aliyev on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference sounded very weak indeed as the prime minister was not properly prepared to react adequately to the Azerbaijani leader, says Kayts Minasyan, an analyst at the Paris Institute of Political Studies.
In an interview with Tert.am, he shared his concerns of the Armenian diplomacy’s failure, in the past 30 years, to cite the pogroms in Azerbaijani cities and towns as strong a restraint expected to influence the opposite side.
″Nikol Pashinyan’s response was really weak. He either was not properly prepared or missed the occasion to react adequately.
″In the past 30 years or so, the Armenian diplomacy has not, by and large, properly used the 1915 Armenian Genocide issue in its rhetoric; the intetrnational community knows that, and Armenia never addresses the topic, which isn’t quite clear at all,″ he said when asked to comment on the prime minister’s response to Aliyev’s remark accusing Armenia for genocidal policies (as the Armenian leader referred to former Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov’s allegations on the ″Khojalu events″ instead of reminding him of the massive killings of the Armenians in Baku, Sumgait, Talish, etc).
The expert described the kind of reaction as a serious error, noting that repeated references to the historical facts could have a restraining influence. ″The Armenian authorities do not unfortunately use that, whereas the Genocide and the Artsakh issue (Sumgait, Kirovabad and Baku) deal with the security of the Armenians themselves. And nevertheless, Baku drastically denies the genocide of Armenians. How are we expected then to have the confidence that Azerbaijan will ensure Armenians’ security?″ he asked.
Asked why Pashinyan referred only to the security of the Artsakh Armenians (without any remark on the country’s right to self-determination and the existence of the Artsakh Republic in general), the expert highlighted the fundamental attitude to the issue. ″It has to do with principles. What does the security of Armenians mean for Azerbaijan? With Baku remaining silent on the issue, Nikol Pashinyan insists on the [fundamental] clause. The prime minister wishes to rephrase the main principles. Yet the use of ‘grey zone’ in the Armenian rheotoric entices Baku into believing that there is a chance to push ahead with peace in the region,″ Minasyan said.
The expert noted at the same time that both Armenia and Azerbaijan are trying to act from the positions of strength in pushing ahead with their approaches. ″Pashinyan was putting the emphasis on the Armenian security and history throughout the discussion, while Aliyev was emphasizing the law and misrepresenting history. Following the exchange of thoughts between Aliyev and Pashinyan, I came up with the questions as to whether the diplomatic meetings in the past 30 years aimed at arriving at such a gap. Peace, accordingly, is not something for tomorrow.″
Commenting on the international reactions to the meeting, Minasyan said he has the overall impression that the initiators were really content. ″They knew it was the first time and had to do everything possible to make the sides speak out. Meetings in this format will be held also this year – and in the years to come – but there is now a good opportunity to believe that the organizers of the Munich Conference will re-establish the [format of] the kind of negotiations. The prime minister of Armenia must, nevertheless, be better prepared. This kind of meeting is part of the communication strategy,″ he added.