On October 14th, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that back in 2018, Azerbaijan demanded in negotiations for Yerevan to give up seven regions of Nagorno-Karabakh in exchange for peace.
According to him, Baku refused to consider the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh outside Azerbaijan.
“In the negotiation process, Azerbaijan reached the point when it has put a demand for the Armenian people to give up their rights, return five of the seven regions, present specific deadlines for the surrender of the remaining two regions, any status of Nagorno-Karabakh must be determined within Azerbaijan. In addition, the clarification of the status should not have been linked to the process of handing over the territories. The territories were to be surrendered in exchange for peace,” said Pashinyan during his address to the Armenian nation on TV.
He specified that the Armenian government refused to consider the issue in this context, as it was unacceptable.
Earlier, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that the main factor in whether the ceasefire agreement would be kept is the recognition by Armenia that Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan.
What are these seven regions, and what does it all mean?
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in an interview with Sputnik provided some insight.
More than 10 years ago, at the initiative of Moscow, the so-called “Kazan formula” was developed to resolve the Karabakh conflict. It assumed a truce at the cost of mutual concessions. The parties practically agreed on it, but never signed it.
According to it, Armenia must transfer seven regions around Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan.
During the war in the early 90s, a so-called “security belt” was created there.
Baku considers them to be occupied territories.
In the future, Yerevan planned to exchange them for recognition of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Russian proposal was more realistic – to exchange them for security.
According to the “Kazan formula”, Nagorno-Karabakh receives a temporary status and negotiations on a permanent status can begin.
Another stumbling block in the negotiations between Baku and Yerevan is the Lachin corridor.
A 6-kilometer mountain road connects Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh (they have no common border). Armenia agrees to give 7 regions to Azerbaijan only if this corridor is preserved. Baku strongly disagrees.
The current situation in Karabakh may lead to the implementation of the “Kazan formula”. Russia is insistently demanding this. This is one of the rare issues on which the EU and Washington do not argue with Moscow.
Which are these seven regions?
They include the following, and what part of them Azerbaijan requires to be given control of:
- the territory of Kelbajar region – 1936 km² – completely;
- the territory of Lachin region – 1835 km² – completely;
- the territory of the Kubatly region – 802 km²  – completely;
- the territory of Jabrayil region – 1050 km² – completely, except for the village of Chojuk Marjanli;
- the territory of the Zangelan region – 707 km² – completely;
- territory of Agdam region – 1094 km² – 77% – 842 km²;
- the territory of Fizuli region – 1386 km² – approximately 33% – 462 km².
From the point of view of Azerbaijan, the “security belt” is a territory occupied by Armenia .
In the documents of international organizations (UN, PACE) these territories are considered as occupied not by Armenia, but by “local Armenian forces”, while some of them recognize two subjects of the conflict on the Armenian side: the Republic of Armenia and “the Armenians of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan” (in the terminology of the PACE – “separatist forces”).
From the point of view of the NKR leadership, at the moment the “security belt” is part of the territory of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, included in its composition after the transition to the control of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army until the receipt of security guarantees for the NKR and until the establishment of NKR control over its entire territory.
At the moment Azerbaijan controls 750 km2 of the official territory of the NKR – Shaumyanovsky (630 km2) and small parts of Martuni and Martakert districts, which is 14.85% of the total NKR area; an exception is the Lachin corridor, which connects the NKR with Armenia, which the NKR categorically does not intend to return due to its strategic importance for the republic.
According to Art. 142 of the NKR Constitution, “until the integrity of the state territory of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is restored and the borders are clarified, public power is exercised on the territory actually under the jurisdiction of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic”, that is, including in the territories located outside the former NKAO and Shahumyan region, within the borders of which the NKR was proclaimed.
On the maps of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, the territories of the security belt are not separated from other territories of the NKR]. The total area of all declared and controlled territories is indicated as the area of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Syrians Afraid To Fight Against ‘Mighty Armenians’, But Pashinyan Announces Retreat From Some Positions
- Azerbaijan Strikes Ballistic Missile Sites In Armenia Amid Hadrat Standoff