Armenian FM: “Azerbaijan once again trying to extract unilateral concessions in Karabakh issue”
Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan gave an interview to Sky News Arabia about the reasons behind the latest military escalation on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Mnatsakanyan says that Azerbaijan began military operations on the border with Armenia to extract unilateral concessions in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.
On July 12, active hostilities broke out on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border with the use of artillery and drones. This escalation on the border of the two countries is considered the most serious since the 1990s, when the Karabakh War began. The last serious aggravation on the contact line of Armenian and Azerbaijani troops in Karabakh was in April 2016. It became known as the Four Day War.
During the latest conflict on the border from July 12 to 16, at least 17 people have died. The Azerbaijani side reports 13 deaths, and the Armenian side reports four.
Only on July 17 did a relative calm resume on the border, and still persists.
The head of the Armenian Foreign Ministry also expressed his opinion on the role of Russia in the search for compromises and on the destabilizing position of Turkey.
The reasons behind the hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan
“There are many reasons, but I think the main reason is that on July 12, after launching an attack on Armenia, Azerbaijan again attempted to impose unilateral concessions on Armenia regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. I think that we have once again demonstrated that there is only one way to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and it is based on a stable compromise between all the parties involved – Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan,” said Mnatsakanyan.
He says that the only obstacle to achieving progress in the negotiations is the all-or-nothing mentality, the attempt to prevail, with which Azerbaijan approaches the issue of a peaceful settlement:
“I think that, once again, it was most clearly demonstrated that there is no military solution to this conflict, that the conflict can only be resolved peacefully. And I think that Armenia’s defense capabilities was again clearly demonstrated. We remain committed to an exclusively peaceful settlement and will reject the military solution in the most solid and uncompromising manner.”
The minister says that Azerbaijan miscalculated when it hit Armenia’s bases in the Tavush region:
“Maybe they thought that Armenia’s defense capabilities in this area were vulnerable, and that they could penetrate into Armenian territory from this point. However, they witnessed the might of the Armenian Armed Forces, and their attempts to destabilize the situation, expand the geography of this conflict beyond the borders of Nagorno-Karabakh, and wage a larger war with Armenia, failed.”
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan commented on the position of Turkey, which during the past few days of military conflict, accused Armenia of starting the conflict and expressed its readiness to support Azerbaijan in every possible way:
“I cannot say that we were surprised by the position of Turkey, which is a destabilizing factor not only in our region, but also in all other neighboring regions. We have witnessed manifestations of Turkish power, infiltration and intervention in other regions, including the Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East. They are trying to continue their neo-Ottoman policy our region. This is a criminal mission, reminiscent of the Armenian genocide at the beginning of the last century.”
At the same time, as the minister noted, Azerbaijan’s friendship with Turkey does not bother Armenia, since it has its own defense capabilities. In particular, Mnatsakanyan spoke about the military bloc operating under the leadership of Russia, that is, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, of which Armenia is a member, and its partnership with NATO:
“Armenia is a country that strives for stability and rejects any military solution, any militant manner of conducting politics in our region. We will firmly reject such policies both on the diplomatic front and politically. But we are also certainly ready to defend ourselves. However, any expansion of instability through military means and the search for military solutions will have disastrous consequences for the entire region. This once again demonstrates Turkey’s extremely unconstructive and dangerous policy.”
The role of Russia
During the interview, the foreign minister stressed several times that the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue is the highest priority:
“The process is ongoing within the internationally recognized format of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship, which includes France, the United States and Russia.”
Regarding the role of Russia, the Foreign Minister stressed that Russia is working extremely carefully and very constructively to find a solution acceptable to all parties based on a compromise:
“We highly welcome this policy and will continue to work with Russia as well as with the other OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs France and the United States to achieve an exclusively peaceful solution. War is not an alternative. It spells disaster for the entire region. We completely and categorically reject any military solution, any outbreak of hostilities, or war in our region. This is our policy.”