On Saturday, August 12, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I called for self-determination for Artsakh and urged Armenia to suspend all negotiations with Azerbaijan until it lifts the blockade of the enclave.
“How can promises to recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial sovereignty be made without ensuring the fair right of self-determination of Artsakh that guarantees its security and independence?” His Holiness said. “How can one be ready to make commitments for the establishment of a so called ‘comprehensive peace,’ when such approaches can endanger not only Artsakh, but also the integrity and even the existence of Armenia?”
The Catholicos said that Armenia needed to abandon the position of a defeated country that only makes concessions.
“Moreover, Armenia should suspend all negotiations with Azerbaijan until Azerbaijan ends the blockade of Artsakh,” he said. “It is true that a new war should be avoided, but this does not mean giving in to Azerbaijan’s demands.”
A flexible yet firm attitude is needed in the negotiations, the Catholicos said. “Any approach that would consider Artsakh an integral part of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity should be rejected.”
Addressing the international community, His Holiness said that “sending bread and tea to Artsakh will not solve the crisis.” He urged the great powers to “ensure the security of Artsakh by recognizing the right to self-determination” and “take practical steps… forcing Azerbaijan to end the blockade of Artsakh, and then, through political negotiations, the international community will recognize the self-determination of Artsakh under international sponsorship.”