Latest fighting on Armenian-Azerbaijani border a direct threat to democracy

The latest fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border is not just another escalation, this is a very clear and direct threat to democracy, Arsen Kharatyan, Former Adviser to the Prime Minister of Armenia, said during a discussion hosted by Al Jazeera, which also featured Hikmet Hajiyev, Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan, and Ibrahim Fraihat,Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution, Doha Institute.

He denounced Azerbaijan’s threats of possible bombing of the nuclear power plant of Armenia.

“We’re not talking about Nagorno-Karabakh right now, we’re talking about Armenia’s sovereign territory, we’re talking about internationally recognized borders of Armenia,” he stated.

“This is a threat to democracy, this is an attack against the democracy that we’re trying to build in Armenia. In 2018 Armenia went through one of the biggest and the major change in its history, recent history. This was the 2018 Velvet Revolution, which brought about the most legitimate government in the country since mid-90s, and we are undertaking large agenda of reforms, we have a very popular government here going through a lot of painful changes inside the country, but the people and the countries in the neighborhood despotic regimes seem to be quite nervous about it,” Kharatyan stated.

“What we see here is that internal issues in Azerbaijan are triggering the regime to start and to further create animosity against Armenians fueling Armenophobia, trying to derive its own public, to actually draw attention or diverge from the real and the serious issues that we believe the country will have enhanced. We had a corrupt regime ourselves, we know how it works, we know how hard it is to be able to actually handle a regime like that. However Armenia, a young democracy, a country with a reformist government and has no reason to attack anyone,” he added,” he added.  

“What we’re seeing from our Azerbaijani colleagues there or from Azerbaijan itself, it is targeting civilian population, villages in the territory of Armenia, shelling and sending bombs and rockets already for 4-5 days.  What we’re saying we are committed and our Foreign Minister stated it very clear yesterday that we’re committed to the peace process, we believe that the format of the negotiations where Russia, United States and France are co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group is the only format to continue the negotiations, to continue constructive negotiations between the parties. Come back to the negotiation table. Why are you threatening? Why are you sending bombs? If you’re going to continue with this language obviously you’re going to receive an answer and response,” Kharatyan stated.

Arsen Kharatyan the Armenian Genocide is not a conflict between Turkey and Armenia.
It’s the Armenian Genocide that has created the political geography that we’re currently living in and of course, big players making deals and making the borders that we live including the problem that comes with Nagorno-Karabakh, which was created by Josef Stalin and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, so Turkey is indeed part of this, Turkey is the only country, a big player in the region that has been directly backing Azerbaijan on its aggressive moves.”

“In fact, Turkish Foreign Ministry made a statement openly saying that they will be backing Azerbaijan on anything that they go for. So we expect possibly similar aggressive behavior from Turkey, so Turkey’s possible role as an “independent mediator” is out of question for us. Now getting back to a lot of the accusations about the democratic process in Armenia, I understand that Mr. Hajiyev and his administration are quite afraid that the similar situation can come around in Azerbaijan and this regime that exists in Baku may have the same destiny as the kleptocratic regime that we had in Armenia. I know it’s going to be hard, I know it’s going to be tough and what showed, what came around as a fact was that the state orchestrated demonstration two days ago in Baku, when Aliyev tried to take out people with a patriotic armenophobic anti-Armenian notion to direct his own nation to go for a war. In fact 2 hours after people went out to the streets and had a chance to demonstrate, they started asking for resignation of your own cabinet members, two hours after that they attacked your own parliament. So my feeling is that COVIDd-19 is not the only congestive thing happening in Azerbaijan. Democracy and the revolutionary process might end up coming to your homes, so be cautious about it,” he stated.

“Some of my colleagues say that Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is more popular in Azerbaijan than Aliyev as a democratic leader. I’m sure it’s not Pashinyan, it’s the democracy, it’s the human rights, it’s the aspiration of freedom of speech and other liberties that your citizens are deprived of and this is the reason why the people are going to be out in the streets. I mean we are seeing your own President yesterday talking about only 150 people becoming volunteers to go to the war. Neither your people, nor Armenians want war. What we want is to go back to the negotiations table and discuss this. I will have to make one more comment especially when it comes to the confidence building measures, you together with your administration agreed for better monitoring of the borders. Why are you refusing it now? You are now coming and claiming and accusing us of attacks. Let’s put those confidence building measures, let’s have monitors along the border line, let’s have international people, international observers, monitors on the border and tell us who is the one who triggers the conflict,” Arsen Kharatyan concluded.

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