Armenia: political conclusions, economic calculations in wake of July border clashes Azerbaijan
Armenia has been analysing the results of the July clashes on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and calculated the losses in the Tavush region, which was under constant shelling during the period of conflict.
The incident on the border of the two countries began on July 12 with the use of artillery and drones. This escalation is considered the most serious since the 1990s, when the Karabakh war began.
In the period between July 12-16, at least 17 people died. The Azerbaijani side reported 13 deaths. On the Armenian side, four were killed during the escalation; on July 23, another serviceman died, who had been seriously wounded on July 14. Now there is a relative calm, which was established on July 17.
On July 23, the Armenian prime minister summarized the political consequences of the escalation. Nikol Pashinyan’s statements can be viewed as the country’s strategy on security issues for the near future.
His main idea is that the Azerbaijani myth of military superiority over Armenia has been destroyed, therefore, the Armenian side will not be able to dictate anything to the Armenian side, which is in a position of strength.
More details on the prime minister’s statement and plans for the restoration and development of the border zone.
“We won and are drawing conclusions”
The Prime Minister of Armenia openly stated that he considers the Armenian side to have won this last conflict. But at the same time, Nikol Pashinyan made some conclusions, which he presented to the Cabinet of Ministers and all residents of the country during a government meeting, which, as always, was broadcast live.
“The Azerbaijani myth that their army can defeat the Armenia, and therefore that Armenia and Artsakh must make concessions, has evaporated,” the prime minister said.
Accordingly, Pashinyan believes that Azerbaijan should publicly refuse to use force and put an end to the anti-Armenian rhetoric.
Moreover, as a result of the Azerbaijani attacks, Armenia, says the head of state, has strengthened its position on the front line, and “the Azerbaijani side suffered serious losses”:
“Including ultra-modern technology, which is an obvious victory of Armenian power, thinking, and military-industrial complex. At the same time, the moral and psychological damage inflicted on the enemy was much stronger. “
Touching upon the Karabakh problem, which is one of the root causes of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Armenian prime minister again stated that Nagorno-Karabakh should become a full-fledged party to the negotiations, a sentiment with which Azerbaijan categorically disagrees.
At the same time, Pashinyan now speaks of the need to further strengthen the general security system of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. And he again reaffirmed Armenia’s position on continuing negotiations with Azerbaijan in cooperation with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.
He recalled that since 2016, Azerbaijan has provoked the situation using the military for the second time, ignoring the negotiation process and the Minsk Group’s demands to refrain from exacerbating the situation:
“Azerbaijan’s approach to the fact that the negotiations are a continuation of the war, and their goal is to resolve military issues at the negotiating table, makes the entire negotiation process meaningless. Negotiations make sense if Azerbaijan is ready to retreat from its maximalist approach and is ready to compromise. Recognition of the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination without any restrictions, the security of the people of Armenia and Artsakh cannot be threatened under any circumstances.”
Pashinyan also spoke about the need for constant international monitoring of the situation on the border, as well as the introduction of mechanisms that will record when and which side violated the ceasefire.
He announced an effective tool for preventing cross-border incidents and direct contact between armed forces on the ground.
The prime minister drew special attention to the problems of the civilian population affected by the escalation:
“The conflict, which has been going on for three decades, is causing serious damage to the border settlements of Armenia and people living in Artsakh, and violates their political, economic, environmental…and other rights. Any approach which dictates that these rights can only be realized after the conflict has been resolved is unacceptable. The problems of people living in the conflict zone should become a priority in the negotiating agenda. “
Reconstruction of border villages
Preliminary estimates show that during the hostilities, the Tavush region of Armenia incurred 150,000,000 drams ($300,000) worth of damage.
Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures Suren Papikyan stated that due to the tense situation on the border, it is necessary to redistribute budgetary funds and allocate financial resources to the administration of Tavush:
“Today we made a decision to allocate 25,000,000 drams ($ 50,000) based on the estimates of the working group, in order to make it possible to quickly restore the damage. Part of this sum has been transferred as an advance payment in order to quickly start work before the final damage assessment is completed.”
But the government has announced its intention to organize a more large-scale effort:
“During the previous closed-door meeting, we discussed and came to the conclusion that we need to make some changes about the way we think about the border villages. Now these villages are under fire and, therefore, restoration work is considered in this context, but they must not only be restored. We must have a clear strategy for the development of border villages. It should be understood that Armenia does not end with border villages, but rather begins,” the Prime Minister said.
During the hostilities from July 12-16, houses and businesses were damaged in the city of Berd and the surrounding border villages. Homes in the villages of Nerkin Karmir Akhbyur, Aygepar and Chinari were most affected by the shelling.
These structures, according to the deputy head of the State Committee for Urban Development Armen Ghularyan, will be demolished. New housing will be built in a safer place with government funds.