The involvement of terrorist groups in the Karabakh conflict changes the context of what’s happening, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in an interview with Russia’s First Channel.
Question: Were you surprised by the Azerbaijani offensive as to the intensity of fire and the military equipment being used, in particular, I mean the widespread use of drones?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – To be honest, it was not unexpected, as Azerbaijan had been using warlike rhetoric, hate speech against Armenians and everything related to Armenians for a long time. We had got accustomed to the language of threats.
What came as a surprise was the use of terrorist groups involved in this conflict. I think this changes the whole context of what is happening, because yesterday Russia, the Russian special services officially confirmed that fighters from some cross-border terrorist groups are involved in the hostilities, that is, in the attack on Nagorno-Karabakh.
I think that Nagorno-Karabakh is practically fighting against international terrorism, which makes great difference in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Question: The day before yesterday, you went to Stepanakert for the first time since the flare-up, where you met with the military, you probably saw a lot with your own eyes. The Azerbaijani army’s tactics most likely consists in the use of high-precision weapons with a view to hitting Armenian logistics units. What do you oppose to that tactics?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – The Nagorno-Karabakh army opposes the mobility of its units and preventive strikes. It turned out to be quite effective. Besides, the troops of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army are successfully destroying their drones.
Question: The Azerbaijani leadership says they are prepared to halt the fire in case you recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as the territory of Azerbaijan; there are even demands to present a timetable for the withdrawal of Armenian troops from Nagorno-Karabakh. You take the opposite position. And this is like a dead end. What is the compromise acceptable for you? What compromises are unacceptable?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – You know, it would be inappropriate to talk about details in this atmosphere. As for the settlement, it seems to be obvious that compromise is needed to resolve a conflict. The Armenian side has always been ready for compromise. If Azerbaijan is prepared for compromise, too, it will change the situation.
Question: Baku blames you for violating the UN Security Council resolution on Karabakh. Which is your response to those accusations? And also, did those resolutions somehow manage to resolve the controversy?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – You know, the UN Security Council resolutions should not be taken out of context and presented in a different light. They need an in-depth analysis to understand what is stated there. They do not say anything about Armenia’s military operations at all.
The latest resolution states that Azerbaijan has violated the international ceasefire agreement, as a result of which it has lost territories, and those territories have been taken over by the self-defense forces of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia is referred to in a different context. Armenia is urged to use its ties with the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to somehow stabilize the situation. The last of those resolutions was adopted in 1993, at a time when there was a specific operational situation. I mean that those resolutions should not be cut out of context.
Question: Can the contradictions between Azerbaijan and Armenia spill over the borders of bilateral relations, or go beyond the boundaries of a bilateral conflict? You say that the Turkish military is actually leading the operation. What kind of international support do you expect if the war spills over the borders of the region?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – The situation has already gone beyond the borders of the region. I mean the borders of the Karabakh conflict zone, considering that radical elements and international terrorists are there. It already poses a threat to the security of all countries in the greater region. And this is a threat to global security. In other words, this has already gone beyond the borders of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
And, of course, Turkey’s involvement is changing the context, too. I talked about it many times during the past week, during the last ten days. Why did Turkey return to the South Caucasus a hundred years later? For two reasons: to follow up the policy of genocide and to push ahead with its drive for expansion to the north, east and south. All this should be viewed in the context of the policy that Turkey is pursuing in the Mediterranean, the Middle East, with regard to Greece and Cyprus, and so on. This is a policy of restoring the Turkish Empire. This is a threat not only to our region in the narrow sense, but also to global security in the broadest sense.
And I am convinced that international partners should draw specific conclusions from this, as this is no longer a question of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia’s security. This is a matter of security for many countries, and even for a wide range of superpowers.
Question: Nagorno-Karabakh has not yet been recognized by Armenia. Nevertheless, in recent days both you and the President of Armenia spoke about such an opportunity. Do you think that the recognition can help Karabakh in any way, or will it aggravate the situation?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – You asked the most important question, at least one of the most important questions. The question is that if our analysis shows that it will help Karabakh resolve the issue, we will take such a step; if not, we will refrain from making such a decision. We are holding discussions to that effect. In addition, we take into account the fact that we must act as a constructive member of the international community.
Question: The present confrontation is the most deadly one in the last quarter of a century. But sooner or later any war ends. What is your vision of peace?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – It is just necessary to cease the fire; the aggression against Karabakh should be stopped; we need to halt the terrorists because I consider this an international act of terrorism against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.