Speaking at the parliamentary debate on the state budget, Pashinyan pointed out that in November 1998, during Robert Kocharyan’s presidency, the Armenian authorities had held negotiations on the basis of the so-called “Common State” project, under which Karabakh was supposed to be part of Azerbaijan. So, it is, to put it mildly, disingenuous of Kocharyan and his supporters, including the Dashnaktsutyun party, to insist today that Karabakh can never be part of Azerbaijan.
“Not only did they (the previous authorities—Ed.) not rule out that Karabakh can be part of Azerbaijan, they also accepted the key logic of the negotiation package, according to which Karabakh should be part of Azerbaijan. Moreover, in doing so, they disregarded Karabakh’s declaration of independence adopted on September 2, 1991, and the referendum on independence held on December 10 of that year,” Pashinyan said.
After the idea of the “Common State”, the issue of territorial exchange was on the negotiation table. According to Pashinyan, the idea was that Armenia would get Karabakh and give Meghri District in Syunik Province to Azerbaijan in return. In Pashinyan’s opinion, Yerevan’s willingness to discuss this option implicitly meant that Armenia recognized Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan at the time.