Serzh Sargsyan: Prevention of incidents is the integral part of negotiations

RA President Serzh Sargsyan gave an exclusive interview to “Banadzev” (“Formuka”) program of ArmNews TV channel.
With respect to the recent border incidents, Armenia’s leader said:

“The incidents could not be discussed at the meeting because preventing incidents is part of the negotiation process.”

As regards ceasefire observation agreements, President Serzh Sargsyan said:

“I do not think there is a sense in a new agreement. What’s the difference whether the agreements are being signed now or were signed in the past? The sides must now honor the agreements signed in 1994-1995. Another question is if any new provisions are proposed and an agreement is signed based on the new provisions on absolute non-use of force. This is a higher level than the ceasefire agreements. And both the mediators are we raise such issues from time to time. But we do not yet see Azerbaijan’s positive response.”

With respect to Azerbaijan’s attacks on the posts of the Armenian and Nagorno-Karabakh armed forces, Armenia’s leader said there was no need for the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s (CSTO) interference.

“The CSTO always acts when a country applies,” he said.

The CSTO Secretary General is to arrive in Armenia soon.

“I am sure there was no need for that. If anyone thinks the CSTO’s reaction would have put Azerbaijanis off, such a person is mistaken. As to the CSTO’s position, it is quite clear and is stated in a document approved in 2012, which remain in force,” Armenia’s president said.

“I do not think incidents will continue as intense as before. The events have shown the Armenian armed forces are in full control of the situation, and all the attempts by Azerbaijan failed – some of them with losses.”

With regard the incident prevention mechanisms, Armenia’s leader said:
“International mechanisms of investigation into incidents could prove to be the most effective way of incident prevention. If we can create such a mechanism, I think it will be a serious stimulus to prevent incidents. Such mechanisms imply identifying the guilty party and informing the public, including the international community. So we should do the relevant work.”

“We are conducting negotiations over the document signed in Kazan, in 2011. At the last moment, the Azerbaijani president refused to sign that document. The document is based on the Madrid principles and envisages a settlement of the conflict on the basis of three fundamental principles – peoples’ right to self-determination, territorial integrity and nonuse of force.”

By escalating the situation on the Line of Contact, on the threshold of the trilateral presidential meeting in Sochi, Azerbaijan pursued a number of aims.

“The chief and major aim was to convince the international community that the war is not over, but it is a phase of war. The Azerbaijani president is not concealing this. Urgent measures need to be taken to resolve the problem. We all have been convinced of that. We do not know any instance when Azerbaijan did not provoke more intense incidents prior to or following important meetings.

“The second aim Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces and leadership are pursuing is to make Armenians fear. They wanted to show both themselves and others they were strong enough, their armed forces are efficient and capable of, as they say, ‘punishing’ the Armenian armed forces. But you see their illusion did not do anything good to them.

“The third aim is a domestic political one. The Azerbaijani leadership is seeking to justify its hard-line policy inside Azerbaijan, capitalizing on the issue of unfinished war. Other reasons could be cited as well, but I think these are the primary ones,” President Serzh Sargsyan said.

With respect to a recent statement by Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense that it is ready to carry out a missile attack and “raze even Yerevan to the ground,” President Serzh Sargsyan said that at the Sochi meeting the President of Azerbaijan said the sides are well aware of their potential.

“Yes, we are well aware of Azerbaijan’s potential and that country’s leaders are well aware of ours.”

“If hostilities resume, [attacks] by Azerbaijan’s armed forces from Nakhijevan could reach the outskirts of Yerevan, but such actions will never remain unpunished, and Azerbaijan’s leaders are well aware of the Armenian armed forces’ potential…

“If they do not fear for their own safety and decide in favor of large-scale military operations, let them think of their own responsibility,” Armenia’s leader said.

With respect to Azerbaijani leadership’s sabre-rattling, President Serzh Sargsyan said:

“Sometimes I have the impression that some persons in Baku play war games after work in the evening. But they must realize the reality is entirely different.”

As regards the talks about the deployment of peacemakers, particularly Russian troops, in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, Armenia’s leader said:

“It is for the first time that I have heard about the deployment of only Russian peacemakers. The Madrid principles envisage the deployment of peacemakers along the Line of Contact. But it is not a subject of the negotiations. At present, it is only the principles that must be discussed, that is, whether peacemakers will or will not be deployed.”

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