'Azerbaijan prepared for war for a long time' – Armenian FM on Karabakh
Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan spoke to journalists yesterday about whether the country had the opportunity to resolve the Karabakh conflict in 2018, when the leader of the ‘velvet revolution’ Nikol Pashinyan came to power.
“Azerbaijan was not ready to resolve the Karabakh issue peacefully and had been preparing for war for a long time,” Ara Ayvazyan said, adding that the Karabakh conflict has not been resolved and is a challenge to the security of the entire region.
FM Ayvazyan also spoke about the return of prisoners from Azerbaijan, the role of Russia in ensuring regional security and his possible resignation.
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‘From the point of view of security, Russia plays a key role‘
FM Ayvazyan stated that ensuring security in the region was and remains a priority area of Armenia’s foreign policy:
“But the unresolved conflict remains one of the key challenges in the region. The consequences of the aggression against Artsakh undertaken by [Azerbaijan] with the assistance and direct participation of Turkey, the occupation of a part of the territories of Artsakh cannot be considered a settlement of the conflict.”
In this situation, according to Ayvazyan, Russia plays a key role in maintaining the ceasefire and ensuring security.
A full-fledged solution to the conflict, according to the minister, can only be a peaceful, political settlement, “which will respect the rights of everyone and determine the final status of Artsakh.”
The only international mediating format for a settlement for Armenia is the format of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship. The Minister stated that Yerevan will continue to support this format.
According to him, the Armenian side is ready to resume peace negotiations, but in an atmosphere that promotes peace, while Azerbaijan does not yet have such prerequisites. And this is evidenced by the refusal of Baku to return the prisoners.
The return of prisoners is the focus of the authorities
The minister said that the issue of returning Armenian prisoners is in the center of attention of the authorities. But Baku continues to create artificial barriers. At the same time, Ara Ayvazyan believes that this policy of Azerbaijan is gradually becoming a headache for Baku itself:
“As you may have noticed, international pressure is gradually increasing … We hope that Azerbaijan will abandon the policy of holding hostages and will definitely give a positive solution to this important humanitarian issue.”
The minister did not name a specific date for the return of the Armenian prisoners and offered to be patient. The solution of the issue, according to the Foreign Minister, is being dealt with not only by the Armenian authorities and the relevant commissions, but also by international partners.
Minister denies rumors of his resignation
“As you can see, I continue to work, and in a fairly active mode,” Ara Ayvazyan said.
Information earlier appeared in the Armenian media that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was dissatisfied with Ayvazyan’s work. In particular, information was published that the PM’s discontent was connected with statements of Ayvazyan voiced in Moscow in December 2020.
At that time, following negotiations with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and answering a question about the possibility of normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey, Ayvazyan mentioned the Armenian genocide of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire and criticized Turkey’s role in the Karabakh war.
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