While Azerbaijan has demanded the return of the exclaves, Yerevan hoped they could form part of an exchange, with Azerbaijani troops withdrawing from the estimated 215 square kilometers of Armenian territory they took during a brief invasion in 2022. According to Pashinyan, that deal was refused and the villages must be returned to ensure Azerbaijan does not launch another offensive.

No mention was made of whether Azerbaijan would agree to hand over an Armenian exclave within its borders, roughly equal in size to the four villages.

The statement came as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg visited Armenia, praising the country’s growing support for Ukraine, and said the alliance will support its “sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Armenia has sought closer ties with the West since the start of Russia’s all-out war in Ukraine, with Pashinyan telling POLITICO last year that Moscow is no longer a reliable security guarantor.

On Tuesday, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev visited the former Nagorno-Karabakh region, inside his country’s borders but which was until last year under Armenian control since a war in the 1990s. An Azerbaijani offensive in September conquered the territory, triggering a mass exodus of its 100,000 Armenian residents.

End

To Get The Latest News Update

Sign up to Our Subscription.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

To Get The Latest News Update

Sign up to Our Subscription.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.