Armenian PM thanks France for 'truth' over Nagorno-Karabakh
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pachinian on Sunday thanked French President Emmanuel Macron for telling the "truth" about the country's conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory.
Pachinian told a delegation of French MPs that Macron was "the first international leader to talk about this situation in the language of truth, saying clearly that Syrian mercenaries were involved in the war against Karabakh and that Turkey is the main instigator of this war," Armenian authorities said in a statement.
France alongside the US and Russia is part of the so-called "Minsk group" attempting to bring a negotiated end to the conflict.
But both an initial ceasefire negotiated by France and a second brokered by Russia have broken down.
"There is no military solution to the problem and a compromise must be found. Armenia... is ready to compromise," Pachinian said.
However, "any situation acceptable to Armenia immediately becomes unacceptable to Azerbaijan", he complained.
That meant "the priority is the self-defence of Nagorno-Karabakh and of its people, so that a truly diplomatic compromise solution becomes possible", Pachinian said.
On Wednesday, the Armenian leader had ruled out any negotiated solution and called on his countrymen to take up arms.
In Paris, 4,200 people demonstrated on Sunday calling for France to recognise Karabakh as independent, brandishing Armenian and French flags and banners calling to "stop Turkish-Azerbaijani aggression".
On the Azerbaijani side, President Ilham Aliev said he had "one condition... that the Armenian prime minister must declare his country is withdrawing from the occupied territories," according to Russian news agencies.
He urged the international community to "put pressure" on Yerevan to come to the table.
In the weeks since September 27, Azerbaijani forces have captured territory outside Baku's control since a 1990s war following the collapse of the Soviet Union that claimed 30,000 lives.
Populated almost entirely by ethnic Armenians, Nagorno-Karabakh has ruled itself ever since.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said this week that "almost 5,000" people had died in the latest fighting over the separatist enclave.