Obstacle to Peace: Why Armenia Wants to Alter Its Structure

Obstacle to Peace: Why Armenia Wants to Alter Its Structure

Speaking at a meeting with parliament speakers of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic States in Baku on June 6, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev reiterated Baku’s official place that signing a peace agreement with Armenia is unachievable as long as the present Constitution of Armenia continues to be unchanged. President Aliyev’s remarks arrived correct just after Armenian International Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, talking at an Armenian parliament session, falsely experimented with to equate the overtly irredentist claims that are enshrined in the Armenian Structure with Azerbaijan’s Constitution the place no such promises exist. Mirzoyan claimed that each Armenia and Azerbaijan see just about every other’s structure as an obstacle to a tough peace, and constitutional changes are not on the agenda of the ongoing peace talks. In an formal statement subsequent President Aliyev’s remarks, the Armenian Overseas Ministry turned down producing constitutional amendments to take away the irredentist claims from Azerbaijan, alleging that Armenia does not have territorial statements from its neighbours, and that the draft edition of the peace settlement envisages the sides not utilizing domestic legislation in buy to fulfill their obligations.

The ongoing peace talks in between Armenia and Azerbaijan have created some vital breakthroughs considering that December 2023 when the two international locations jointly issued a statement on reaching a peace settlement primarily based on the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. Immediate negotiations in between the two sides without the need of the adverse interference of 3rd functions paved the way to reaching the arrangement on the delimitation and demarcation of 12.7 kilometres of the border with the return of 4 Azerbaijani villages – Baghanis Ayrım, Ashaghi Askipara, Kheyrimli and Ghizilhajili – to Azerbaijan which ended up 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 chief of opposition to the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalisation and border delimitation agreement. Bagrat’s anti peace stance gained support from each professional-Russia and professional-West revanchist circles, this sort of as the professional-Russia previous presidents Kocharyan and Sargsyan, the Armenian Church and the professional-Western extremist Jirayr Sefilyan.

Pashinyan’s Lookup for a New Constitution

On Jan eighteen, Armenia’s PM Nikol Pashinyan argued that Armenia needs a new structure not just amendments. Pashinyan’s statement is important as it advocates the modification of the condition ideology enshrined at existing in Armenia’s Constitution. He argues that the new realities in the area as very well as the ongoing changeover in the international method have to have Armenia to stop irredentist claims towards neighbours and focus on Armenia as a point out in just its territorial borders as element of guaranteeing what he calls legitimacy. In other words and phrases, Pashinyan’s check out is that in order to make certain its safety Armenia ought to abandon the territorial promises in its Structure and undertake a new 1. Pashinyan’s quest for a new constitution is typically about the domestic politics and problems of Armenia, having said that, the irredentist promises that the Armenian Structure consists of are the major hurdle to attaining durable peace in the South Caucasus region. In an job interview to nearby media in February, Pashinyan touched on the need to resolve the problem of the Armenian Declaration of Independence and argued that if point out procedures proceed to be guided by the Declaration’s information about the reunification of the National Council of the previous Nagorno Karabakh and the Supreme Council of Armenia there “will not be peace”. The Armenian PM even made use of a metaphor comparing the Armenian Declaration of Independence which includes open promises on neighbours to a crimson gown that draws in bulls.

Irredentist Claims in Armenia’s Constitution

When Azerbaijan factors out the need to have for alterations in the recent Armenian Structure, it is referring to the elimination of the territorial claims enshrined in the Armenian Declaration of Independence very first and foremost. The preamble to the Declaration states, ‘Based on the December 1, 1989, joint selection 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 signifies that Armenia’s state plan is dependent on the annexation of element of the internationally recognised territory of Azerbaijan.

In other words and phrases, Armenia’s irredentist claims against Azerbaijan are rooted in the Armenian Declaration of Independence and designed a component of countrywide plan. These promises began in 1988 as element of the Miatsum (Unification) movement with the intention of annexing aspect of Azerbaijan’s Karabakh area to Armenia and turned into a whole-blown conflict with the subsequent Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani lands and irredentist maps hanging on the partitions of Armenian officers. The Declaration also includes oblique territorial promises versus Turkey in the preamble the place it helps make “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 help of the task of achieving worldwide recognition of the 1915 Genocide in Ottoman Turkey and Western Armenia.” In Armenian political discourse the term “Western Armenia” means the Jap elements of the Republic of Turkey, so restoring historic justice refers to territorial promises on Japanese Turkey.

Nevertheless, the Armenian Declaration of Independence is not the only impediment in the peace approach: the termination of the Armenian Parliament’s thirteen July 1992 choice prohibiting the Armenian authorities from recognising Karabakh as section of Azerbaijan should really be resolved far too. In simple fact, this legislative decision prohibits Armenian PM Pashinyan from signing a peace deal and recognising Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. Contemplating that the ruling Civil Agreement Social gathering of Armenia retains a significant parliamentary bulk, they could nullify this legislative selection simply without holding a referendum. The Armenian Constitution adopted in 1995 requires presidential candidates to have been resident in the region for ten decades and to have been a citizen all over that time. When Robert Kocharyan became Armenian president he did not meet people necessities. As a substitute he argued that his candidacy was “legal” based on the Armenian Declaration of Independence. The Armenian Constitutional Court and the Central Election Fee qualified and registered him. In addition, Armenia’s formal and diplomatic documents have contained territorial promises from Azerbaijan in the kind of references to the lawfully non-existent entity Nagorno Karabakh all these a long time.

To sum up, Armenia’s argument that a peace treaty with a clause about neither aspect making use of domestic laws previously contradicts the current irredentist statements enshrined in Armenia’s Constitution as nicely as the legislative selection of July 1992. Considering that the Armenian parliament and Constitutional Court docket have to approve a probable peace settlement this already produces uncertainty. In addition, Azerbaijan desires to reach a lasting peace with Armenia as a nation and the Armenian folks, not just with the ruling Civil Agreement Social gathering. It is the territorial statements enshrined in the Armenian Structure that are a make any difference of issue for Azerbaijan, not Armenia’s inside political technique which Pashinyan desires to alter. To seek the removal of the claims to Azerbaijani territory enshrined in Armenia’s Declaration of Independence and other official paperwork can hardly be deemed interference in purely internal affairs, as claimed by Armenia’s MFA. Now revanchists are declaring that they will nullify Pashinyan’s decisions. Azerbaijan’s stance on the removing of the present territorial statements from Armenia’s Constitution is rational, as potential Armenian governments ought to not be equipped to stroll absent from a peace offer or revive territorial promises against Azerbaijan by employing the present Declaration of Independence and the parliamentary final decision. Taking into account Pashinyan’s hesitation to hold a referendum, what he can do to show his government’s sincerity about the peace approach is terminate the July 1992 parliamentary decision.

At the conclusion of the day, Armenia should select between peace, normalisation, and prosperity on the a person hand, and territorial promises from its neighbours on the other, as PM Pashinyan talks about actual Armenia and historic Armenia. The United States which frequently refers to a “just and strong peace” must also really encourage Armenia to take out the irredentist statements from its Structure as keeping them will not bring peace to the location.

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

Rufat Ahmadzada is a graduate of Town, University of London. His investigation place covers the South Caucasus and Iran. The sights expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not essentially replicate TGP’s editorial stance.

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