May 6, 2023 - 16:08 AMT
If Azerbaijan returns Armenian villages, “Yerevan will respond in kind”

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said that if Azerbaijan is ready to return occupied Armenian villages, Armenia is ready to respond in kind.

"We have occupied villages too, and by village I don’t mean just the building of the village administration, it’s, let's say, Berkaber, Vazashen, Aygehovit, Paravakar. If Azerbaijan is ready to return them, yes, we are ready too,” Pashinyan said in an inter with the Armenian service of RFE/RL.

“But there is another question here. Let's assume that the army of Azerbaijan or Armenia is standing on this line and should withdraw from that line, we agree with that in principle, but should it withdraw, where will it be deployed? If there is a border there, then let's make it so Azerbaijani troops are not on this side of the border line, Armenian troops should not be on the other side of the border line," he said.

Azerbaijan’s permanent representative to the United Nations recently advanced as many as eight preconditions to Armenia, including the withdrawal of Armenian troops from Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian withdrawal from eight occupied Azerbaijani villages and Armenia’s refusal to have territorial claims to Azerbaijan.

Commenting on Azerbaijan’s claim regarding “eight Azerbaijani villages occupied by Armenia,” Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ani Badalian reminded that still back in the 1990s Azerbaijan occupied the Armenian village of Artsvashen, the arable lands of the villages of Vazashen and Aygeovit in the Tavush region and 70 percent of the arable land of the villages of Berkaber and Paravakar. She said that after the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh, as a result of renewed aggression, Azerbaijan occupied another 150 square kilometers of sovereign Armenian territory.