Armenian PM gives sweeping interview on conflict with Azerbaijan – details
Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan does not believe Russia will get involved in the conflict with Azerbaijan:
“Nobody hopes that Russia will become a party to the conflict, since Moscow is the co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, it is a mediator [in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict – JAMnews]. I think Russia had a constructive role (in achieving the truce) and should act as a mediator, along with the US and France.”
In an interview with the Russian edition of RBK, Nikol Pashinyan spoke about the latest military exacerbation on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
He openly stated that Turkey was the instigator of the conflict, which, in his opinion, is a global threat to security in the region.
Stabilization at the border
Pashinyan said that during the flare up of violence on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, all three co-chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, France and the United States) played an important role in the issue of stopping the hostilities and establishing relative calm. Nevertheless, Nikol Pashinyan highlighted the role of Russia:
“Our interests are very much the same. Here the issue of not only regional, but also global security is played out, because the situation in our region is so tense that escalation can lead to global clashes.”
PM Pashinyan made this statement against the background of active discussion in Armenia of Turkey’s expressed support for its ally Azerbaijan. While Russia, being a strategic ally of Armenia, limited itself only to traditional appeals.
Pashinyan also commented on the fact that during the hostilities on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, Armenia did not appeal to the Russia-led CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) military bloc, of which it is a member, for help. He noted that the Armenian Armed Forces coped with the situation on their own and did not need external help.
Why Azerbaijan shelled Armenia, not Karabakh
Nikol Pashinyan said that it is difficult for Azerbaijan to attack Nagorno-Karabakh, given there are many Azerbaijani settlements in the area next to the line of contact. In addition, according to Pashinyan, the Azerbaijani military authorities are aware that the line of contact of troops in Karabakh is equipped with video surveillance systems. And they record any movement of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces:
“They attacked where the border is not so saturated with video surveillance systems. By the way, there is only one Azerbaijani village in this direction, and there are a lot of Armenian villages. I think this explains why the attack took place in this direction.”
Pashinyan said he believes Azerbaijani President Aliyev is forced to use force, especially since he promised his citizens to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem by military means:
“Over the past 10 years, the Azerbaijani government has spent several billion dollars under the pretext of developing the Armed Forces. From time to time, [President of Azerbaijan] Aliyev has to explain why this money was not spent on improving the well-being of the people, if the conflict is not resolved by force.”
Clashes between Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Moscow
Amid the military escalation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, riots erupted in the Russian capital last week.
Videos of two diaspora communities attacking each other were disseminated on social media.
The Prime Minister of Armenia stated that the instigators of the clashes between Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Russia were not Armenians.
The situation in Moscow, according to Pashinyan, arose due to the fact that at first there was a blockage of Armenian goods in Russian supermarkets owned by Azerbaijani businessmen. Then the clashes began:
“This is nothing more than a continuation of the rhetoric of hatred that has been used in Azerbaijan over the past 15 years. Let’s compare the rhetoric of all the authorities in Armenia – with the rhetoric of the Azerbaijani government. We will see that there is no hatred in the rhetoric of the Armenian side. Yes, there are principles, there are some considerations, some ideas, but there is no hatred.”
Pashinyan compared the recent events in Moscow with an attempt to destabilize the situation in Russia, turn it into an arena of interethnic conflicts.
In this issue, Yerevan’s position, according to the prime minister, is unambiguous: one cannot succumb to these provocations, because the stability of Russia is a strategically important factor for Armenia:
“All those people who live in Russia are obliged to comply with the laws and procedures of the Russian Federation. The behavior of the Azerbaijani side is not only unacceptable in the political and legislative aspect, but also from the moral point of view.”