We strive for peace, but ready for any developments, Armenia’s Defense Minister says

The Karabakh conflict is a typical struggle of a nation for self-determination, Armenian Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan has said.

“The people of Nagorno Karabakh were forced to protect that right with arms. They managed to do that under unequal conditions in an imposed war in early 1990s and build an effective system of governance, with elections held on a regular basis, with multi-fraction Parliament formed, with its own judicial and economic systems,” the Minister said at a briefing with Russian media representatives.

“In the course of the 24 years after the signing of the trilateral agreement on ceasefire, the people of Nagorno Karabakh have fully realized all mechanisms characteristic of statehood.  A whole generation has been raised in the unrecognized republic with an understanding that they live in a fully sovereign state, make their own decisions and there is no mechanism that could convince them of the opposite,” Vigen Sargsyan added.

“We are open to the negotiation process and actively participate in it. But we also consider that the search for solutions is directly linked to recognition of and respect for the right to self-determination. All other issues are derivative from this main issue and should be solved considering the need to ensure the security of the people of Nagorno Karabakh and their right to free development,” Minister Sargsyan said.

The Defense Minister blamed Azerbaijan for constantly foiling the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group. “Baku is not interested in seeking solutions; it drags out the settlement of the conflict by building up arms, disseminating anti-Armenian rhetoric on all levels starting from the head of state to higher education establishments and schools. In that atmosphere of hatred, it is impossible to prepare the society for compromises,” Sargsyan said, emphasizing the explicit differences in the state administration systems of Azerbaijan and the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.

The Defense Minister said “we’ll maintain efforts towards peace, but must be ready for any development of events, considering the absolute lack of civil and democratic control over the armed forces, which means the risk of resumption of military actions could vary from 0 to 100 percent.”

He voiced hope that “Baku understands that any escalation can lead to large-scale war that will create chaos but will not help solve the Karabakh issue. There is no military solution to the conflict,” Vigen Sargsyan stated.

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