Today, President Armen Sarkissian met with a group of European journalists who have been in Artsakh in recent days. The President answered their questions about the military aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh and the subsequent situation.
In response to the question how he feels seeing all this as the country’s President, Armen Sarkissian noted that the pain is terrible. “It’s double, triple painful because we are losing young, bright, patriotic young people who are fighting for the homeland, who are sacrificing their lives for the homeland.”
“There are no words to express the pain you feel. This war is also inhumane, because from the very first day Azerbaijan started firing rockets at the civilian population and settlements,” the President said.
The President told reporters in detail what the war means to each side. If Azerbaijan declares the liberation of the territories, the territories where Armenians have lived for millennia, which are their historical homeland, as the goal of the war, then, according to the President, there is another international wording to describe it – ethnic cleansing.
According to the President, Turkey’s goal is to show Azerbaijan that they are ethnic brothers, that they have similar brothers in many other countries, but the main goal is to have a more dominant position in the Caucasus. Furthermore, he said, Turkey, most likely, intends to stay in Azerbaijan, to manage the international pipelines.
“What are the people of Artsakh fighting for? They are fighting for their lives, their honor, their heritage, their faith, their families, their history, their home. At the same time, the small people of Nagorno Karabakh are fighting for the security of the region, and also for the security of Europe, I mean, for example, energy security. They are fighting for the security of the Middle East. Let us note that Turkey is involved in the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Iraq without thinking about the territorial integrity of those countries,” the President stated.
President Sarkissian once again stressed that the only way to return to the negotiation process and establish peace is for Turkey to withdraw from this conflict, otherwise the situation will pose a great danger to the whole region.
Answering the question on the possible recognition of Artsakh by Armenia, the President spoke about several differences between the approaches of the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides.
“Over the years, Armenia has not recognized the independence of Artsakh for the simple reason that it would allow the status of Nagorno Karabakh to be resolved through negotiations. We wanted the independence of Nagorno Karabakh to be recognized as a result of the negotiations. At the same time, if this war continues, there will be no opportunity to return to negotiations, of course, Armenia, in all probability, will have no choice but to recognize it. However, at the moment there is hope for a ceasefire and a return to negotiations. That is why Armenia does not do that even today,” the President said
“Our approach is that there is no military solution to this problem. Have you been to Shushi, have you seen the church, have you seen the mosque? The mosque was restored with the help and efforts of the Armenian side. The church was restored. And what happened these days? Azerbaijan fired a rocket at the church. This clearly shows the difference in our approaches,” he added.
The other difference is the deployment of military units. They are not in settlements in Artsakh. Here they try to keep the military presence and operations as far away from the civilian population as possible. “On the contrary, in Azerbaijan, military facilities are located in settlements, making the population a target.”
In response to a question about France’s efforts, President Sarkissian praised the activity and efforts of French President Emanuel Macron’s government. “France represents Europe in the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship format, but we hear the voice of France more than the voice of Europe. The voice of NATO is not heard, the voice of the European Union is not heard enough. We also appreciate Russia’s efforts and mediation capabilities. “
The President also thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov, expressing hope that greater efforts will be made to achieve and maintain the ceasefire.
Thanking the journalists for their courage and professional work, President Sarkissian stressed the need for media representatives to visit the region, to be in Artsakh and to present the situation objectively.