Armenian PM, Azerbaijani president trade blows at UN assembly
Speaking by video during the general debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev accused the Armenian leadership of thwarting negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and of ‘preparing for a new war.’
Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan responded to Aliyev’s accusations. His main message was that “Armenia and Karabakh both have very constructive positions,” and the Karabakh issue does not require a forceful, military solution. The Armenian prime minister advised the Azerbaijani president to “return to a constructive place” himself, noting that the conflict can truly be resolved.
The President of Azerbaijan said that for over 30 years, about 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan has been under the occupation of Armenia.
“Armenia is trying to disrupt the peace process carried out with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. Armenia’s goal is to maintain the current status quo associated with the occupation and achieve the annexation of the occupied territories. In contrast to the constructive position of Azerbaijan, the Armenian PM deliberately undermines the format and essence of the negotiation process”, said Aliyev, claiming Pashinyan’s statement from several months back that ‘Karabakh is Armenia’ deals a serious blow to the negotiation process:
“His unacceptable ‘seven conditions’ were rejected by us. We have the only condition for achieving peace: the armed forces of Armenia must be withdrawn from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. The whole world recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan”.
The president also said that Armenia threatens to strike at large cities and important civilian infrastructure in Azerbaijan: the Mingachevir reservoir and the Sangachal oil and gas terminal, which is one of the largest in the world.
“Armenia is bringing in mercenaries and terrorists from different countries and uses them against Azerbaijan. The hostile Azeri-phobic statements of the Armenian leadership and the provocations carried out demonstrate that Armenia is preparing for a new war against Azerbaijan. We call on the UN and the international community to restrain Armenia from another military aggression”, said Aliyev.
Nikol Pashinyan once again noted that after taking up the premiership, he “made an unprecedented statement” that the solution to the problem should be acceptable to “the peoples of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh”. The prime minister says that he expected this statement would find a proper response in Baku, as it “would create great opportunities for a breakthrough in the negotiations”.
“However, the answer was that the issue can be resolved exclusively within the framework of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. In essence, this statement means that Baku is putting forward a formula for the settlement of the conflict as a precondition, the essence of which is a return to the status quo of 1988”, said Pashinyan.
The prime minister said that all statements “against the leadership of Azerbaijan are a commensurate response to their destructive statements”.
Baku is trying to achieve unilateral concessions, threatening to resolve the issue by force, said the prime minister.
“We have stated from the very beginning that one should not speak with Armenia in the language of force and threats. It is pointless. I have publicly stated our position: the Karabakh issue has no military solution. If the Karabakh issue had a military solution, then the people of Artsakh would say that they had already solved it long ago”.
Disclosure of confidential information
Pashinyan also emphasized that Baku has recently decided to introduce a new component in the propaganda campaign – “the so-called disclosure of confidential information”:
“I advise my Azerbaijani colleagues not to follow this path, because if we start distributing confidential information, it will destabilize the internal political situation in Azerbaijan.”
Speaking about the disclosure of confidential information, Nikol Pashinyan may have been referring to the recent scandal involving Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The press service of the Azerbaijani parliament published a press release, which presented Lavrov’s opinion on the Karabakh settlement and the role of the Armenian prime minister in it, allegedly expressed by him during a meeting with the speaker of the Azerbaijani parliament. The press release was edited and the statements were removed, but only after they were refuted by the Russian side.
In addition, hacker attacks have recently intensified from the Azerbaijani side. In particular, a fake message appeared several days ago within Armenian social media communities – a photo of an allegedly official document from the National Security Service and the Defense Army of Nagorno-Karabakh, in which they urge the population to be ready for an emergency evacuation.