Why does Pashinyan deny the occupation of 8 villages by Armenia?

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's recent denial regarding the transfer of four villages to Azerbaijan has stirred speculation and raised questions about the intricacies of the ongoing border dispute between the two countries.

During a press conference, Pashinyan refuted claims of discussions surrounding the return of villages, including Baganis Ayrim, Gizil Hajili, Ashagi Askipara, and Heyrimli, to Azerbaijan. He asserted that such proposals had never been on the table, emphasizing the lack of historical presence of these settlements within Armenian territory.

Political commentator Oktay Gasimov delves into the implications of Pashinyan's statements, suggesting a nuanced interpretation of Armenia's stance. Gasimov points to the absence of specific mentions regarding the transfer of territories controlled by Armenian forces in the Gazakh region of Azerbaijan in the trilateral statement of November 9-10. He implies that this omission was a result of a tacit understanding between President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan to avoid further complicating the latter's position.

Gasimov highlights the significance of Pashinyan's attempt to convey Armenia's concerns about the delimitation process, particularly regarding the status of certain villages. He suggests that Pashinyan's assertion that these villages did not historically belong to Armenia is a subtle acknowledgment of their disputed status and potential return to Azerbaijani control.

Of particular concern to Armenians are the four villages of Barkhudarly, Sofulu, Yukhary Askipara in the Gazakh district, and Kyarki in the Sadarak district of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. These villages serve as crucial transit points for Armenia's connectivity with neighboring regions, including Zangezur, Iran, and Georgia. Gasimov underscores the logistical challenges Armenia may face if these villages are transferred to Azerbaijani control, including the need for costly bypass roads.

Gasimov proposes a potential solution to Armenia's logistical concerns through the signing of a peace agreement based on five principles proposed by Azerbaijan. He suggests that such an agreement could alleviate Armenia's transportation challenges without significant complications.

As tensions simmer along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, the statements and actions of political leaders on both sides continue to shape the trajectory of the ongoing dispute. The international community closely monitors developments, urging dialogue and diplomatic solutions to prevent further escalation and promote regional stability.

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