Obstacle to Peace: Why Armenia Demands to Transform Its Constitution

Obstacle to Peace: Why Armenia Demands to Transform Its Constitution

Speaking at a meeting with parliament speakers of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic States in Baku on June six, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev reiterated Baku’s official placement that signing a peace settlement with Armenia is difficult as extended as the present Structure of Armenia stays unchanged. President Aliyev’s remarks came appropriate just after Armenian International Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, talking at an Armenian parliament session, falsely attempted to equate the openly irredentist claims that are enshrined in the Armenian Constitution with Azerbaijan’s Structure where by no this sort of claims exist. Mirzoyan claimed that the two Armenia and Azerbaijan see just about every other’s structure as an impediment to a long lasting peace, and constitutional changes are not on the agenda of the ongoing peace talks. In an official assertion following President Aliyev’s remarks, the Armenian Foreign Ministry turned down making constitutional amendments to get rid of the irredentist claims from Azerbaijan, alleging that Armenia does not have territorial statements towards its neighbours, and that the draft model of the peace settlement envisages the sides not applying domestic laws in purchase to fulfill their obligations.

The ongoing peace talks in between Armenia and Azerbaijan have developed some critical breakthroughs due to the fact December 2023 when the two nations jointly issued a statement on reaching a peace settlement centered on the concepts of sovereignty and territorial integrity. Immediate negotiations involving the two sides without having the unfavorable interference of third parties paved the way to reaching the agreement on the delimitation and demarcation of twelve.seven kilometres of the border with the return of 4 Azerbaijani villages – Baghanis Ayrım, Ashaghi Askipara, Kheyrimli and Ghizilhajili – to Azerbaijan which have been occupied by Armenia in the 1990s.

This coincided with the emergence of the radical extremist priest Bagrat Galstanyan who is a revanchist extremist known for praising terrorism and irredentism and now the leader of opposition to the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalisation and border delimitation agreement. Bagrat’s anti peace stance received help from both of those professional-Russia and pro-West revanchist circles, these as the pro-Russia previous presidents Kocharyan and Sargsyan, the Armenian Church and the professional-Western extremist Jirayr Sefilyan.

Pashinyan’s Look for for a New Constitution

On Jan 18, Armenia’s PM Nikol Pashinyan argued that Armenia demands a new constitution not just amendments. Pashinyan’s assertion is important as it advocates the modification of the state ideology enshrined at existing in Armenia’s Structure. He argues that the new realities in the location as well as the ongoing changeover in the global technique involve Armenia to stop irredentist promises towards neighbours and target on Armenia as a point out within just its territorial borders as aspect of ensuring what he phone calls legitimacy. In other phrases, Pashinyan’s check out is that in get to guarantee its protection Armenia have to abandon the territorial claims in its Structure and undertake a new 1. Pashinyan’s quest for a new constitution is generally about the domestic politics and troubles of Armenia, having said that, the irredentist claims that the Armenian Structure is made up of are the major hurdle to obtaining long lasting peace in the South Caucasus area. In an job interview to community media in February, Pashinyan touched on the require to clear up the problem of the Armenian Declaration of Independence and argued that if point out guidelines keep on to be guided by the Declaration’s information about the reunification of the Countrywide Council of the previous Nagorno Karabakh and the Supreme Council of Armenia there “will not be peace”. The Armenian PM even applied a metaphor evaluating the Armenian Declaration of Independence which is made up of open up claims on neighbours to a red costume that attracts bulls.

Irredentist Promises in Armenia’s Constitution

When Azerbaijan points out the want for adjustments in the existing Armenian Constitution, it is referring to the removing of the territorial claims enshrined in the Armenian Declaration of Independence first and foremost. The preamble to the Declaration states, ‘Based on the December 1, 1989, joint conclusion of the Armenian SSR Supreme Council and the Artsakh Nationwide Council on the “Reunification of the Armenian SSR and the Mountainous Location of Karabakh”.’ This means that Armenia’s point out plan is dependent on the annexation of component of the internationally recognised territory of Azerbaijan.

In other phrases, Armenia’s irredentist claims in opposition to Azerbaijan are rooted in the Armenian Declaration of Independence and built a aspect of countrywide coverage. These claims began in 1988 as component of the Miatsum (Unification) movement with the goal of annexing section of Azerbaijan’s Karabakh location to Armenia and turned into a total-blown conflict with the subsequent Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani lands and irredentist maps hanging on the partitions of Armenian officials. The Declaration also contains oblique territorial claims against Turkey in the preamble in which it makes “the realization of the aspirations of all Armenians and the restoration of historical justice” a priority for Armenia, and in clause 11 which states that “The Republic of Armenia stands in assist of the job of achieving international recognition of the 1915 Genocide in Ottoman Turkey and Western Armenia.” In Armenian political discourse the phrase “Western Armenia” suggests the Japanese elements of the Republic of Turkey, so restoring historical justice refers to territorial claims on Eastern Turkey.

Nevertheless, the Armenian Declaration of Independence is not the only obstacle in the peace method: the termination of the Armenian Parliament’s 13 July 1992 conclusion prohibiting the Armenian authorities from recognising Karabakh as section of Azerbaijan should really be tackled too. In simple fact, this legislative choice prohibits Armenian PM Pashinyan from signing a peace deal and recognising Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. Contemplating that the ruling Civil Agreement Celebration of Armenia retains a sizeable parliamentary the vast majority, they could nullify this legislative conclusion very easily devoid of holding a referendum. The Armenian Structure adopted in 1995 necessitates presidential candidates to have been resident in the nation for ten a long time and to have been a citizen all over that time. When Robert Kocharyan became Armenian president he did not meet individuals requirements. In its place he argued that his candidacy was “legal” primarily based on the Armenian Declaration of Independence. The Armenian Constitutional Courtroom and the Central Election Fee accredited and registered him. In addition, Armenia’s formal and diplomatic paperwork have contained territorial promises towards Azerbaijan in the sort of references to the lawfully non-existent entity Nagorno Karabakh all these several years.

To sum up, Armenia’s argument that a peace treaty with a clause about neither side utilizing domestic legislation now contradicts the present irredentist statements enshrined in Armenia’s Constitution as very well as the legislative selection of July 1992. Contemplating that the Armenian parliament and Constitutional Court docket have to approve a doable peace agreement this by now creates uncertainty. In addition, Azerbaijan would like to realize a lasting peace with Armenia as a place and the Armenian persons, not just with the ruling Civil Agreement Party. It is the territorial claims enshrined in the Armenian Constitution that are a subject of issue for Azerbaijan, not Armenia’s inner political program which Pashinyan desires to improve. To search for the removal of the claims to Azerbaijani territory enshrined in Armenia’s Declaration of Independence and other formal files can barely be viewed as interference in purely inner affairs, as claimed by Armenia’s MFA. By now revanchists are proclaiming that they will nullify Pashinyan’s conclusions. Azerbaijan’s stance on the removal of the existing territorial promises from Armenia’s Constitution is rational, as potential Armenian governments need to not be capable to wander absent from a peace deal or revive territorial statements towards Azerbaijan by utilizing the existing Declaration of Independence and the parliamentary conclusion. Taking into account Pashinyan’s hesitation to maintain a referendum, what he can do to prove his government’s sincerity about the peace process is terminate the July 1992 parliamentary final decision.

At the conclusion of the day, Armenia need to pick amongst peace, normalisation, and prosperity on the one hand, and territorial statements towards its neighbours on the other, as PM Pashinyan talks about serious Armenia and historic Armenia. The United States which consistently refers to a “just and durable peace” will have to also persuade Armenia to take away the irredentist promises from its Constitution as preserving them will not bring peace to the area.

[Representational image by the Presidential Press and Information Office of Azerbaijan, via Wikimedia Commons]

Rufat Ahmadzada is a graduate of Metropolis, University of London. His investigation region covers the South Caucasus and Iran. The views expressed in this short article are those people of the author and do not essentially reflect TGP’s editorial stance.

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