Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has declined to support the right to self-determination for Nagorno-Karabakh residents, marking a departure from Armenia's longstanding policy on the conflict with Azerbaijan.
Previous Armenian governments had advocated for this right during peace talks mediated by the US, Russia, and France. However, Pashinyan and other officials stopped referencing self-determination a year ago and have instead focused on ensuring the "rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh", leading to concerns that Armenia is prepared to accept Azerbaijan's complete control of the Armenian-populated region, rather than insisting on some measure of self-dtermination.
During a news conference in Yerevan, Pashinyan reiterated that the issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh people's rights and security is crucial, but he stated that it is up to the people and government of Nagorno-Karabakh to determine the framework of those rights and security.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev invited representatives of Karabakh's Armenian community to visit Baku for talks on the region's "reintegration" into Azerbaijan, but Stepanakert has rejected the offer.
The five leading political groups in Karabakh released a joint statement demanding that Yerevan respect the right to self-determination of the Nagorno-Karabakh people and comply with a 1992 parliamentary act banning recognition of Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh. Pashinyan did not clarify whether he could sign such a document, instead calling for direct dialogue between Baku and Stepanakert, while also accusing Baku of seeking a "mandate to perpetrate genocide or ethnic cleansing in Karabakh".
In January, Pashinyan claimed that the international community has always viewed Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan, a statement that was criticised by the Armenian opposition and Karabakh's leadership.