Putin: ‘If Armenia refuses to comply with the Karabakh agreement, that would be suicide’
Russian President Putin gave an interview to TV channel Russia 24, touching on a number of the main issues still surrounding Nagorno Karabakh following the November 10 truce.
On the status of Nagorno-Karabakh
Putin said that the status of Nagorno-Karabakh will be determined in the future, but for now the status quo remains:
- ‘We had to choose between a very bad scenario and a tragedy’ — head of Armenian Defence Forces HQ
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“Yes, this issue exists – the final status of Karabakh has not been settled. We have agreed that for now we will maintain the status quo existing today, what will happen next is to be resolved in the future, by future leaders, by future participants in this process.”
On the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh
“As for the recognition or non-recognition of Karabakh as an independent, sovereign state, this can be assessed in different ways. However, without a doubt, this was a significant factor in the course of the bloody conflict that I hope has now ended. Because the very fact of non-recognition of Karabakh, by Armenia among others, left a significant imprint on the course of events and on the perception thereof.”
“Most importantly, we have succeeded at stopping the bloodshed,” Putin said. He noted that during the fighting in Karabakh, according to official data, more than 4,000 were killed. “In reality, I think it was more,” Putin said, adding that tens of thousands of people were injured.
On signing of the trilateral truce agreement
Speaking of the negotiations on a joint ceasefire statement, the Russian leader noted that he had to take on the role of a mediator – to talk with each leader, listen to their demands and complaints about the text, and make changes:
“But we must give them credit: both sides (Armenia and Azerbaijan) were fighting for it – for every phrase, for every point, one could say for every comma.”
On cancellation of agreements
Armenia’s possible refusal to comply with the agreements on the settlement in Karabakh would be “suicide” and a huge mistake, Putin said.
“That would mean suicide. It is up to each side to comply or not to comply with the reached agreements, but that would be a huge mistake. I hope this doesn’t happen.”
On the internal political situation in Armenia
Putin stressed that the internal political situation in Armenia after the signing of the agreement is not Russia’s business.
“Armenia is an independent, sovereign state, it has the right to decide its internal affairs as it sees fit.”
On the joint monitoring center with Turkey
Azerbaijan itself will determine where exactly on its sovereign territory the joint monitoring center will be located, Putin said:
“It is obvious that it will be on the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan it entitled to make its own decision.”
On the possibility of stopping the war in October
Putin said that in October he held a series of telephone conversations with the heads of Azerbaijan and Armenia, “overall, it seems we had almost reached a ceasefire agreement.”
“But it didn’t work out, unfortunately. And the situation led to what should have been foreseen – the armed forces of Azerbaijan taking control of Shusha,” he added.
On CSTO participation
The Russian President said that Yerevan couldn’t have involved the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization] countries in the settlement of the conflict in Karabakh, because this region doesn’t belong to the territory of Armenia, but the republic was not ‘abandoned and forgotten.’
He recalled that Armenia didn’t recognize the independence of Karabakh, that is, from the point of view of international law, these territories were and are part of Azerbaijan.
“The Collective Security Treaty provides for mutual assistance in the event of aggression against the territories of a country that is a party to the treaty. Nobody encroached on the territory of Armenia, and this gave us no right to take a direct part in these hostilities,” Putin said.