Nikol Pashinyan interviewed by Hrair Tamrazyan of RFERL on July 17, 2019. Image grab.

Armenia’s prime minister Nikol Pashinyan struck a pessimistic note about the negotiations process with Azerbaijan, arguing that Ilham Aliyev needs to change his rhetoric about the Karabakh conflict. In an hour-long interview granted to the Armenian Service of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFERL), Pashinyan recalled his statement last year that “a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue must be acceptable for the people of Armenia, the people of Karabakh and the people of Azerbaijan,” and noted that Aliyev has refused to reciprocate and make a similar statement.

Pashinyan went on to say that “the negotiations won’t be fruitful so long as he has not uttered this sentence. Consequently, does anyone think that the solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue can be acceptable for the people of Azerbaijan and not acceptable for the peoples of Karabakh and Armenia? If there is anyone who thinks this way, then that person knows neither the people of Karabakh nor the people of Armenia nor the Armenian people, for that matter.”

Pashinyan and Aliyev last met in March of this year, with no follow up scheduled so far. Their ministers met in April and June, and agreed to continue talking. The talks have helped perpetuate the relative calm that set on the Line of Contact since after the April 2016 fighting.