On October 27, during the annual meeting of the “Valdai” international discussion club, the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, answering the question about the settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, claimed that the Armenian side has always refused to return at least 5 of the 7 regions adjacent to Nagorno Karabakh to Azerbaijan as proposed by the Russian Federation.
“For many years, we have proposed to Armenia to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as follows: RA, in fact, controlled 7 regions of Azerbaijan… At some point, we would reach an agreement with the Azerbaijani side, but we don’t need them (the regions – ed.), they are empty, people were actually forcibly displaced from there. We believe, it would be very fair to return them, to return the refugees as well, etc. But the Armenian leadership pursued ts own way,” Putin said.
Fact Investigation Platform has repeatedly addressed the content of various documents on the negotiating table regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. At least two well-known documents (Madrid principles and Kazan document) agreed upon by the former authorities of Armenia state that the territories under Armenian control will be returned to Azerbaijan before the final establishment of status.
Thus, according to the Madrid principles presented on November 29, 2007, 7 regions would be returned to Azerbaijan at once, and Karabakh would receive an intermediate status. A corridor connecting Artsakh to Armenia would be created in Lachin.
In 2011, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev proposed a document on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Kazan, which was accepted by Armenia, but rejected by Azerbaijan. By doing so, Armenia actually agreed to the transfer of regions to the neighboring country in the 5+2 format, and Nagorno-Karabakh received a temporary transitional intermediate status within the borders of the former NKAO.
The fact that the Armenian side was ready to make territorial concessions without specifying the status, was confirmed by the third president of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, after the April 2016 war, in an interview with the American Bloomberg.
Sargsyan admitted that during the discussion of the Kazan document, he was in favor of the withdrawal of Armenian forces from 5 regions and the deployment of peacekeepers.
In another controversial interview with Dmitry Kiselyov, director general of the international news agency “Russia Segodnya,” Sargsyan admitted that Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh were ready to cede 7 regions to Azerbaijan in exchange for a referendum on Karabakh’s status. “That is, the Armenian parties, Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, leave the territories that are taken as a safety zone, the territories that Azerbaijanis call occupied. We are leaving the territories, going away“ he said.
Thus, the Russian president’s claim that the Armenian side has always refused territorial concessions is untrue. At least the former leaders of RA, Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan, agreed to transfer the regions in the 5+2 format, even without specifying the status of NK.