Armenian PM in BBC interview: Azerbaijan attacked Armenia first

In a recent interview with the BBC, Nikol Pashinyan says Azerbaijan attacked Armenia first during the July escalation on the border.

Pashinyan also comments during the interview on Armenia’s relations with Russia and the West, the results of his work in the last two years as prime minister, the effectiveness of the government’s fight against the coronavirus.

Armenian PM gives sweeping interview on conflict with Azerbaijan – details

Who provoked the escalation on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and why? Is Russia involved?

Key points of the interview

In response to questions from HARDtalk host Stephen Sakur, the Armenian PM touched on:

the July military exacerbation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border

Nikol Pashinyan denied the statements of official Baku that Armenia was the instigator of hostilities. He again stressed the need to “establish a monitoring system on the line of contact” so that after each escalation the international community does not hear two opposite versions of events.

the settlement of the conflict 

The Prime Minister of Armenia believes that peace cannot be achieved by unilateral actions of Armenia.  He accused Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev of belligerent rhetoric and an attempt to resolve the conflict by force.

his statement “Artsakh is Armenia, period!”

 “Why did I say that Nagorno-Karabakh, Artsakh [the Armenian name of the territory] is Armenia?  First, Nagorno-Karabakh has been inhabited by the indigenous Armenian people for several thousand years, and, by the way, the name Artsakh is also several thousand years old ”.

 the geopolitical orientation of Armenia:

“Russia is a strategic partner of Armenia in all areas, in particular, in the economy and security, and with the European Union, Armenia signed an Agreement on Comprehensive and Expanded Partnership.  receives the main support in carrying out internal political reforms from the EU. We participate in NATO peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Kosovo and Mali. In addition, we effectively cooperate with the United States in the military sphere.”

 Armenia’s relations with the United States and Iran:

“We have no problems in relations with the US and Iran. And we are doing everything in our power to maintain our current good relations with both the US and Iran.”

the results of two years as prime minister after the velvet revolution of 2018

The head of government noted that last year Armenia recorded a record economic growth in Europe – GDP grew by 7.6%:

 “The pandemic situation interrupted our flight, but we will continue it.”

 criticism of the opposition in his address

 “Armenia is a democratic country and the opposition is free to express its opinion.  I am happy that the opposition in Armenia now operates much freer than before the revolution. “

 accusations of ineffectiveness in the government’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic

 “Unfortunately, the epidemic is developing all over the world.  An anti-epidemic strategy has been adopted in our country.  And this strategy is consistent with the conditions of our country.  Let’s not rush and draw conclusions only after overcoming the epidemic. “

participation in a banquet in Nagorno-Karabakh without a protective mask in the midst of an epidemic:

“On that day, we acted according to the rules that existed in Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Social media reaction

Nikol Pashinyan’s interview with the BBC has actively seized upon by netizens of Armenian social media.

Here are some comments:

“Very weak interview: from weak English to not very strong confrontation. Apparently, Pashinyan thought that there would be nice little questions that journalists of Radio Liberty have been asking lately.  But he was wrong.”

“According to Pashinyan, he and his government did everything right in the fight against coronavirus.  And this is said by a person whose country is by far the leader in the region in terms of mortality and infection rates. “

“Attempts to ridicule the fact that the government has failed to cope with the fight against coronavirus seemed arrogant.”

“There was a one-sided interview.  It seems that the host has set a goal to make Armenia guilty on all counts, and not to hear Pashinyan.”

Read original article here.