"Azerbaijan intends to occupy other territories of Armenia" - Pashinyan from UN rostrum
Pashinyan’s speech at the UN General Assembly
“Azerbaijan intends to occupy other territories of Armenia, which must be prevented. The risk of new aggression remains very high, especially considering that Azerbaijan violates the ceasefire every day,” the Prime Minister of Armenia said during his speech at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.
Pashinyan devoted his speech to the topic of “unprovoked aggression by Azerbaijan against the sovereign Republic of Armenia” and the consequences of the September 13-14 military actions. According to the Prime Minister of Armenia, the reason for a new escalation may be the fact that “there was no proper reaction of regional power structures” to this situation.
The Prime Minister stated that Armenia is determined to defend its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and democracy by any means. At the same time, “the full involvement and support of the international community” is extremely important. In his opinion, the presence of an international observation mission in the border regions of Armenia and Azerbaijan could be an important factor in regional stability.
The main points of Pashinyan’s speech
“It was not a border conflict, but unjustified aggression”
Pashinyan stated that on September 13, Azerbaijan launched “an unprovoked and unjustified military aggression on the sovereign territory of Armenia.” Thirty-six peaceful settlements came under fire.
“This was not a border conflict. It was an irrefutable attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Armenia, which was condemned and discussed at the last sessions of the UN Security Council,” the Prime Minister stated.
As a result of the Azerbaijani aggression, the total number of temporarily displaced persons from the Gegharkunik, Vayots Dzor and Syunik regions is more than 7,600.
The number of injured and missing now exceeds 207 people, and 293 military personnel and 8 civilians injured. At least 20 soldiers were captured.
Pashinyan stressed that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces purposefully fired at peaceful settlements and vital civilian infrastructure.
“About 192 residential buildings, three hotels, two schools, and one medical facility were partially or completely destroyed. Seven power supply facilities, five water supply facilities, three gas pipeline sections, and one bridge were damaged. Two ambulances and four private cars were fired upon.”
“War crimes committed”
The prime minister said that there is evidence of torture and mutilation of prisoners, as well as desecration of the bodies of dead soldiers, numerous cases of reprisals, and cruel treatment of Armenian prisoners of war:
“The bodies of Armenian female soldiers were brutally mutilated and then ‘proudly’ filmed by Azerbaijani soldiers.”
Pashinyan also said that these videos of war crimes and crimes against humanity are being distributed and welcomed on Azerbaijani social networks.
In his opinion, the “unimaginable atrocities are a direct consequence of Baku’s official policy of instilling hatred and enmity towards Armenians in Azerbaijani society.”
“It is necessary to prevent more aggression by Azerbaijan”
Pashinyan is certain that Azerbaijan intends to occupy other territories of Armenia, and this must be prevented. He considers statements from Azerbaijan regarding the latest escalation and “other sources” as confirmation of his opinion:
“Azerbaijan violates the ceasefire every day, and the number of victims and wounded can change at any moment. Another reason for the further escalation could be the fact that there was no proper reaction of the regional power structures to the current situation, which raised serious questions in Armenian society.”
“Today, Armenia should think carefully. No one can speak to us with ultimatums, and let no one rely on anyone. I want to say again that no one and nothing can stop us. […] We showed the whole world what we are capable of, we liberated our land by force and we are proud of it,” Aliyev said.
“Azerbaijan is trying to present Armenia destructive”
According to Pashinyan, to create such an impression Baku uses the topics of a peace treaty with Armenia, demarcation of the border, and unblocking of regional roads:
“Why don’t we have tangible progress in these areas? The reason is very simple. Azerbaijan uses all these topics for its territorial claims against Armenia.”
Pashinyan cited as an example one of the points of the peace agreement – mutual recognition of each other’s territorial integrity.
“We have already announced that we are ready for this, but Azerbaijan has not yet responded. On the contrary, Azerbaijan publicly declares that the entire south and east of Armenia, even the capital Yerevan, are Azerbaijani lands.”
According to the Prime Minister, if Azerbaijan recognizes the integrity of Armenia’s internationally recognized territory of 29,800 square kilometers, this will mean that “we can sign a peace treaty, mutually recognizing each other’s territorial integrity.”
Otherwise the peace agreement will be fictitious, Azerbaijan will use the process of demarcation for new territorial claims and occupation.
Nikol Pashinyan claims that Azerbaijan is trying to present Armenia as a “destructive side”, including on the issue of unblocking transport. The prime minister stressed that Armenia is ready to provide a road that will operate in accordance with the country’s legislation and under its sovereign control, but Baku wants a “corridor” – a road that Armenia will not control.
“So what is Azerbaijan’s goal? To create a new crisis as a pretext for new aggression against Armenia and new territorial claims,” Pashinyan asserted.
“The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh need the support of the international community”
In Pashinyan’s speech at the UN General Assembly, the prime minister stated that Azerbaijan is launching military operations in conditions when the humanitarian consequences of the 2020 war in NK have not yet been overcome.
He considers a full settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict one of the decisive factors of regional stability. He says that the rights and security of the Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh must be guaranteed:
“The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh need the support of the international community. We call for support for the safe and unhindered access of UN humanitarian agencies to Nagorno-Karabakh to assess the humanitarian and human rights situation on the ground and ensure the protection of cultural heritage.”
Pashinyan considers it necessary to access the commission of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UNESCO mission to the conflict zone, which is still blocked by Azerbaijan.
“It is also reprehensible that Azerbaijan again stopped the process of repatriation of Armenian prisoners of war. Among other things, he is conducting artificial trials of them in gross violation of international humanitarian law, his obligations and contrary to the calls of the international community,” the prime minister emphasized.
“Azerbaijan’s target is also Armenian democracy”
Pashinyan stated that Azerbaijan’s target is not only the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Armenia, but also democracy.
“Democracy in Armenia exists in conditions when Azerbaijan resorts to force every day to unilaterally impose its plans. This is being to put an end to Armenian statehood, independence and democracy. We are determined to defend our democracy, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and are ready to use all means to do so.”
The Prime Minister stressed that in the interests of regional stability and in accordance with the norms and principles of international law, the Azerbaijani armed forces should be withdrawn from the sovereign territory of Armenia.
“We are determined to bring peace”
Pashinyan maintained that Armenia is determined to bring peace to the region but needs the support of the international community:
“I believe in the potential to establish long-term stability, security and peace, and Armenia is committed to continuing diplomatic efforts to this end,” he said at the end of his speech.
Pashinyan’s speech at the UN General Assembly