August 14, 2020 – 13:23 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said that Armenia will continue is “economic flight” when the country overcomes all the challenges created by the coronavirus crisis.
In a conversation with Stephen Sackur on BBC HARDTalk, Pashinyan weighed in on Armenia’s foreign policy priorities, the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and the fight against coronavirus.
Pashinyan said that Azerbaijan started the military attack against Armenia in mid-July as a result of the bellicose rhetoric adopted by the president of Azerbaijan.
The situation on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan escalated on July 12, with Azerbaijan launching several unsuccessful infiltration attempts throughout the next week. The Azerbaijani military also used artillery and combat drones to target civilian homes in several border settlements in Armenia. Five servicemen of the Armenian army were killed, while Azerbaijan reported 12 deaths. In recent weeks, though, the situation has been relatively calm.
“They are now facing the challenge of explaining their own society why they couldn’t solve the conflict through force,” he said.
“I can understand why the international community is confused when they hear mutual accusations. That’s why Armenia has proposed an international mechanism of monitoring ceasefire violations.”
Pashinyan also weighed in on his decision to declare “Artsakh is Armenia. Period” at a public gathering in Karabakh. He told Sackur Artsakh has been populated by Armenians for thousands of years.
“The reality is that at the time the conflict started, 80-90% of the population [of Karabakh] were Armenians, and Azerbaijan tried to cleanse the land of Armenians. And the conflict started from this moment on,” the PM said.
“We are proposing to Azerbaijan to renounce any possibility of use of force. We should agree on a very simple formula: there is no military solution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.”
Asked about the country’s response to the coronavirus crisis, the Prime Minister said it is early to give assessment, but the country has been registering some success.
“In 2019, Armenia recorded the biggest GDP growth in Europe, and while the economic flight was somewhat interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, the country will continue [to fly],” Pashinyan said.
Also, Pashinyan said Armenia is successfully juggling relations with Russia, Iran, the United States and the European Union.
“We have good cooperation with NATO and participate in peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Kosovo and Mali,,” he added.
“We also have good relations with Iran and we are doing our best to keep our good relationship with the United States. We are fully devoted to our international commitments.”