On May 10, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov announced that “the return of 7 villages in the Kazakh region (enclave villages of Tavush region – group) and Kyarki (Tigranashen – group) will be carried out in accordance with the requirements of the demarcation process.”
“Armenia can never declare that these are not the territories of Azerbaijan, they belong to Azerbaijan,” Khalafov said, adding that “the return of those territories to Azerbaijan requires a demarcation process, so the issue will be discussed within that framework.”
In response to Deputy Minister Khalafov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia Edmon Marukyan told Armenpress that there is no legal substantiation that there has ever been a de jure Azerbaijani enclave in Armenia.
“At the moment we do not have any legal justification that there was ever a de jure Azerbaijani enclave in Armenia. On the contrary, there are legal grounds for the village of Artsvashen belonging to Armenia,” Marukyan stressed.
This episode would not have caught the attention of media.am’s fact-finding team if it were not for the previous statements of the authorities about the affiliation of the enclaves, which now contradict the position of official Yerevan.
The issue of enclaves was raised in May 2021, when former Armenian Ambassador to the Vatican Mikayel Minasyan announced on a Telegram channel that Nikol Pashinyan had agreed to hand over 6 villages in Armenia to Azerbaijan. Later, a document was published on another Telegram channel, which allegedly confirmed Minasyan’s words. On the same day, Nikol Pashinyan confirmed from the tribune of the National Assembly that what was published was really a draft document put on the table for discussion, and in his opinion, its signing is in Armenia’s interests.
On May 24, Vahe Ghalumyan, a member of the “My Step” faction, said in an interview that there were Azerbaijani enclaves in the Tavush region, which are under the control of Armenia, and listed them.
The names of the villages are Barkhudarlu, Kheyrimli, Sofulu, and Voskepar. It is marked on the map as Azerbaijani territory.”
On May 30, a report was aired on Public TV’s “Lurer” program, which spoke about the Azerbaijani enclaves in the two regions of Armenia, Ararat and Tavush, and the Armenian enclaves in Azerbaijan.
Weeks later, on June 11, Nikol Pashinyan spoke about the enclaves during the election campaign, emphasizing their approach ․ “We also have an enclave, we also have Artsvashen under the rule of Azerbaijan. Our logic is that one enclave will be exchanged with the other.”
Pashinyan stressed that there are solutions to the issues related to the enclaves defined by international law and practice. “We just leave it alone: whatever is under their control, stays under their control, whatever is under our control, stays under our control.”
Nikol Pashinyan, who was re-elected Prime Minister on November 7, 2021, spoke again about the Azerbaijani territories in Armenia during a question-and-answer session with the National Assembly-Government.
“It must be said that as a result of the first war, there are also territories of Soviet Azerbaijan, which were and are under the control of Armenia.”
This year, on April 7, 2022, the Prime Minister once again spoke about the Azerbaijani lands in the territory of Armenia․
“You know that there are territories of Armenia that are under the control of Azerbaijan, there are territories that are under the control of Armenia. These issues must be resolved through the results of negotiations.”
At the same time, the Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia Armen Grigoryan said on “Azatutyun” air in December 2021 that according to the information in their possession at that moment, there was no legal basis for the enclaves.
“It is possible that the head of the community has made a decision, or the head of the Soviet Economy – Group (советское хозяйство) has made a decision, but it has no legal basis, the documents that existed from the 1920s to the present have a legal basis: at least until the 70s. In other words, our studies have shown that there is no such issue,” said the Secretary of the Security Council.
It turns out that the village of Tigranashen (Kyark) in the Ararat region and the territories of Verin Voskepar, Barkhudarlu, and Sofulu of the Tavush region are part of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan with different Soviet maps. However, according to Marukyan and Armen Grigoryan, those maps have no legal basis.
Thus, state officials actually contradict each other: Edmon Marukyan and Armen Grigoryan claim that there is no legal basis for the existence of an Azerbaijani enclave in Armenia. At the same time, Prime Minister Pashinyan consistently puts forward the narrative that there are Azerbaijani lands in the territory of Armenia, and his teammate Vahe Ghalumyan mentions the specific names of those lands (enclaves).
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