Artsakh Defense Army stands ready to rebuke any aggression – FM

Defense Army stands ready to rebuke any aggression as it has done before, Artsakh’s Foreign Minister Masis Mayilian said in an interview with Catalan Nationala news agency.

“If one considers the pace and scope with which Azerbaijan builds up its military arsenal, it becomes clear that it doesn’t buy arms to store in a warehouse, but rather with an intention to use them one day. And it will use every opportunity to test the grounds, to check if it is the right time to start a new aggression,” the Foreign Minister said.

“We have seen Azerbaijan doing so in April 2016, and quite recently, on July 12, on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, in the Tavush region of Armenia. In both cases Аrtsakh and Armenian defense forces gave an appropriate response. There is no reason to believe that Azerbaijan will not give it another try when it feels itself strong enough to unleash another military adventure. And , of course, we know it and Artsakh Defense Army stands ready to rebuke any aggression as it has done before,” Minister Mayilian added.

He said Artsakh’s stance remains unchanged. “We have always been in favor of the resolution of the conflict exclusively by peaceful means. This position has been voiced on numerous occasions both publicly and during the meetings with the OSCE Chairperson- in- Office and Minsk Group Co-chairs, and many statements of the foreign ministry circulated in the international organizations like OSCE, UN, CE etc. We make no secret of the fact , that we want peace, at the same time we realize what an ancient Latin philosopher had in mind noting “Si vis pacem, para bellum -If you want peace, be prepared for war”. And we have gone through it already.”

The Minister said “a single glance at the region is enough to understand the underlying reality of the developments taking place in the conflict zone.” He reminded that thousands of demonstrators in Baku demanded from the Azerbaijani government to start a large-scale war.

“In fairness, however, it should be noted that the demonstrators that broke into the country’s parliament building also had an anti-government agenda. It just shows the role the conflict plays in the internal life of Azerbaijan and how prepared is the Azerbaijani society, and the government for peace or the peaceful settlement of the conflict,” the Foreign Minister stated.

Minister Mayilian stressed that peace can not be reached unilaterally, and all sides to the conflict should strive for it.

“And no matter, how loudly we announce of our readiness to reach peace with our neighbors, they should be both receptive and perceptive of peace. Unfortunately, for years the anti-Armenian sentiments in Azerbaijan have been cultivated into a state-run policy and instead of preparing its population for peace, Azerbaijan has been preparing it for war. This is the reality we face today. And this is the reality the international community should deal with. Independent of the fact whether the country is recognized or unrecognized , it is the people that we should think of. And we do our part not only to ensure the security and safety of our people, but to play a constructive role in contributing to peace and stability in the region,” he added.

The Minister emphasized that Azerbaijan and the relevant international agencies should work towards improving Azerbaijan’s human rights record, fostering democratic developments in the country and educating its society about the benefits of peace and not war.

As for Turkey’s stance on the issue, Mayilian said “it has never been neutral despite being a member of the OSCE Minsk Group. “It is the only country in the region, that has not only publicly voiced its support for the brotherly Azerbaijan but also has backed the Azerbaijani blockade of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh. It is not a secret that Turkey also helps Azerbaijan in army-building, considering that many Azerbaijani officers are trained in Turkey and Turkish military consultants advise the Azeri military leadership.”

“We consider the statement by the Turkish Government in support of the provocations and violations of the ceasefire regime by Azerbaijan unacceptable. We emphasize once again that such a position of Turkey makes its membership in the OSCE Minsk Group senseless,” he added.

The Foreign Minister noted that “the South is a region with a very complex geopolitics and multiple players; both regional and outside the region; with varying levels of interests. And it is not by chance that the Co-chair countries of the Minsk group dealing with the conflict are Russia, France and the US.”

“One thing is clear: if the hostilities resume in the region it will be catastrophic not only for the region, but for the whole international community. The Republic of Artsakh stands ready to take its share of responsibility for maintaining peace and security in the region, its time for other stakeholders do the same,” the Minister concluded.

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