Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan accused Azerbaijan on Friday of threatening a new war in Karabakh.
Azerbaijan is accumulating a “horrendous quantity” of arms in preparation for a resumption of fighting, Sargsyan told Reuters in an interview. He said Armenia wanted a negotiated settlement to the conflict and that he would spare no effort to achieve it.
“Now 18 years after the signing of theceasefire agreement, Azerbaijan threatens us with a new war,” Serzh Sargsyan said.
“When I say that there is hatred towards Armenians, a general xenophobia in Azerbaijan; when I say there is a dangerous accumulation of armaments in Azerbaijan; when I say Azerbaijan is getting prepared for resuming military hostilities and settling the conflict by military means, that doesn’t mean at all that there is no need to continue with negotiations,” the President said.
Reuters reminds that tension between the two countries has risen since Hungary sent home to Azerbaijan an Azeri officer convicted of killing an Armenian officer on a NATO language training course in Budapest. Azeri President Ilham Aliyev pardoned the killer on his return to a hero’s welcome in August.
Sargsyan said the pardon of the Azeri officer, Ramil Safarov, showed Nagorno-Karabakh could not be part of Azerbaijan.
“It again reconfirms our view that the people of Nagorno-Karabakh have no future in the framework of Azerbaijan.”
“We have no doubt that Azerbaijan’s aim is to change the situation by the application of its military means and the only preventative mechanism for their desires is the combat-readiness of the Armenian armed forces,” Sargsyan said.
The Armenian President called on the international community to take “concrete steps” in the search for a settlement.
He said Azerbaijan was in violation of a European treaty limiting holdings of weaponry. Inspectors were aware of the situation “and there is zero action on this”.
Sargsyan said he would stand for re-election next year. Asked if he was confident he would see a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, he said: “I’m confident.”
“At least I hope that I will never see Nagorno-Karabakh incorporated in the Azerbaijani framework again and that in itself is a huge success,” he said.