Politics 18:59 01/11/2020 NKR

'Every day of continued war will bring frustration to Azerbaijani society,' Pashinyan tells Al Jazeera

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan gave an interview to Al Jazeera TV channel. Below is the English version of the interview presented by the premier's office. 

Al Jazeera: Good morning. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is our guest at today’s special edition. Mr. Prime Minister, welcome and thank you for talking to Al Jazeera.

Nikol Pashinyan: Thank you.

Al Jazeera: Mr. Prime Minister, could you please brief us on the official relationship between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Nikol Pashinyan: First of all, I would like to state that Armenians have lived in Nagorno-Karabakh for several millennia. Armenians constituted over 80% of the population in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. I would also like to state that there is a huge Armenian cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh: churches and other monuments, some dating back to the 5th century. The first Armenian school was established in Nagorno-Karabakh.

In 1988, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh tried to reinstate their rights, as part of a democratization process going on in the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union was being formed, Nagorno-Karabakh, with its 80% of Armenian population, was handed over to Soviet Azerbaijan and not to Soviet Armenia as a result of Stalin’s arbitrary decision.

When democratization began in the Soviet Union, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh tried to restore their rights through political means, to reunite with the Republic of Armenia, to which the Soviet Union and Azerbaijan responded with brutal violence against the peaceful population. I am referring to the following, our relationship is with the people, the people who have lived, are now living and will live in Karabakh.

Al Jazeera: How can we describe Nagorno-Karabakh, for example, where do I go when traveling from Armenia to Karabakh?

Nikol Pashinyan: Nagorno-Karabakh declared its independence later, we call it the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh or Artsakh, where there is an elected president, there is a parliament, and there are also state agencies. It is not considered the territory of the Republic of Armenia. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is a proclaimed state, which, unfortunately, has not yet received international recognition.

Al Jazeera: Mr. Prime Minister, you talked about the historical aspect. The Azerbaijanis submitted documented evidence that those lands belong to them. Talking about international law, what could you say about the UN Security Council resolution?

Nikol Pashinyan: I would like to draw your attention to the following fact: if we interpret international law the same way as Azerbaijan does, we should be able to say that Azerbaijan is part of the Soviet Union. But there is no such independent state anymore. If you can say that the Soviet Union does not exist, therefore, Azerbaijan cannot be part of the Soviet Union.

Similarly, Soviet Azerbaijan does not exist anymore for the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, which used to be part of the now defunct Soviet Azerbaijan. As for the UN Security Council resolutions, they were adopted in a specific situation; they described a specific situation relating to the conflict between the Armenian self-defense forces of Nagorno-Karabakh, the armed forces of Azerbaijan, and its ensuing outcome. What is described in the Security Council resolution has an important context. I have already said that Azerbaijan responded to the absolutely peaceful political struggle with force, as it does today, by bombing and shelling peaceful settlements.

In order to protect those peaceful settlements from rocket fire, the Nagorno-Karabakh self-defense forces were obliged to establish a security zone.

Al Jazeera: When hostilities broke out, you said that Armenia might unilaterally recognize Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence. What can this change now?

Nikol Pashinyan: That issue has been and is on our agenda, but the main concern for us is not so much that the Republic of Armenia recognizes the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, because the Republic of Armenia can always do that. It is very important that other members of the international community recognized it. And today we think that this issue is more urgent, considering the current situation, taking into account the humanitarian catastrophe in which Nagorno-Karabakh finds itself; taking into account the indisputable fact that Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan means Nagorno-Karabakh without Armenians. We believe that in this case, the formula of “remedial secession” should be applied, and the international community should recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Al Jazeera: You talked about ethnic cleansing. Azeris accuse you of changing the identity of Karabakh, destroying cemeteries and mosques, changing its name to Artsakh.

Nikol Pashinyan: No graves were destroyed. A mosque in Shushi was recently renovated in Nagorno-Karabakh with modern technologies. Mosques are being paid special attention by the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities. And if you go to Shushi, you will see a magnificent restored mosque, unless the Azerbaijanis shelled it already. Why do I say that? Because the Ghazanchetsots Church in Shushi, the Armenian Church, was precision-striked and is now in a dilapidated condition.

Al Jazeera: I have already visited Shushi and filmed the mosque. Azerbaijan accuses you of rebuilding the mosque and changing its identity, not religiously, but historically. According to Azerbaijan, it had its own historical identity.

Nikol Pashinyan: I know that the mosque was restored under the supervision of Shiite clerics and specialists. And it could not be otherwise. In other words, it was restored under the supervision of Muslim clerics, theologians, specialists, following their plans and advice.

Al Jazeera: Were there any Azerbaijanis?

Nikol Pashinyan: I repeat, all this happened under the control of specialists. Those specialists were not from Armenia or Karabakh, they were from abroad. I cannot say that there were Azerbaijanis. As far as I know - my knowledge in this area is not very big, unfortunately - it is a Shiite mosque, and Shiite clerics and experts joined our Armenian benefactors in the restoration activities.

Al Jazeera: A ceasefire has already been declared three times in Nagorno-Karabakh. Why does the ceasefire fail every time?

Nikol Pashinyan: Because Azerbaijan is violating the ceasefire. Because Azerbaijan and Turkey, in fact, have declared that they are not going to stop hostilities. If we go back to the public statements, we will see why the hostilities do not stop. Because we recorded the facts, and it is now an internationally recognized fact, for example, that Turkey transferred mercenaries from Syria to Azerbaijan to launch an attack on Nagorno-Karabakh.

And these terrorists are not transported to these regions for peace or a ceasefire. Terrorists and mercenaries are being transferred to go wage war.

Al Jazeera: The President of Azerbaijan Aliyev said that you did not present any facts that there are mercenaries in the conflict zone.

Nikol Pashinyan: In this day and age, the Internet is filled with such facts and proofs. By the way, you know that videos recorded on smartphones allow their geolocation, you can find out where it happened with certain programs. And we see that terrorists filmed themselves after committing their terrorist acts. The footage appeared on the Internet, and with geo-location we can prove and spot the place where that shooting took place.

And in general, we have presented a lot of evidence. But even before us presenting our facts, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation, France, and the United States officially recognized and acknowledged that mercenaries and terrorists are involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. I think this issue is already an internationally confirmed fact, that says it all.

Al Jazeera: After coming to power, you expressed a strong position, you said that we should work to find a solution acceptable to the people of Armenia, to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, and to the people of Azerbaijan. Do you think it is possible to reach a solution through negotiations that will be acceptable to the people of Azerbaijan?

Nikol Pashinyan: Yes, I have proposed this. I have said that we must find a solution to the conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh that is acceptable to the people of Armenia, to the people of Karabakh and to the people of Azerbaijan. And, yes, I am the first leader involved in the negotiation process, to say that any solution to the conflict must be acceptable to the other side as well. But why didn't we go further that way? Because the President of Azerbaijan refused to adopt the same approach to the resolution . Because they based their stance on the logic that any solution to the issue should only be acceptable to the people of Azerbaijan. This is the position that has led to such a situation.

Al Jazeera: You said you were ready for painful compromises. What did you mean by that?

Nikol Pashinyan: I said two days ago (on October 26) that Armenia, yes, is ready for compromises. Compromises are always painful. But that is the whole issue, what does compromise mean? Compromise means the willingness to step back from a threshold you have set, that is, the willingness to lower the benchmark you have set. However, when Armenia accepts to lower the bar to create a mutually acceptable framework, that becomes unacceptable for Azerbaijan, and the latter demands even more.

Al Jazeera: What threshold are we talking about?

Nikol Pashinyan: This is not new, this has been the policy for many years. I can refer to the following instance: what happened in Kazan in 2011 is a good example. I have already mentioned that the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh has declared its independence. And, in fact, it is the benchmark that Nagorno Karabakh, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian people rely on. In 2011, the Armenian government that was in power in that time, was willing to hand over territories to Azerbaijan. And within that context, Nagorno-Karabakh was supposed to receive an "intermediate status" , so that in the future, after the return of the internally displaced people from Nagorno-Karabakh, a referendum would be held to determine the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Al Jazeera: When talking about the return of the internally displaced, do you mean only from Azerbaijan or from Armenia and Azerbaijan?

Nikol Pashinyan: We are talking about the return of the internally displaced people from the Autonomous Region of Nagorno-Karabakh, and from the zone of conflict, in general. And this is a serious benchmark. After the threshold was lowered, a document was drafted, in agreement with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia and the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. But at the last moment, Azerbaijan rejected that document. And this shows why the conflict has not yet been resolved. Every time the Armenian side shows some flexibility, it becomes unacceptable for Azerbaijan.

Al Jazeera: in terms of Russia’s positionning: President Putin has said that he will not stand by either side. What do you have to say to that?

Nikol Pashinyan: Russia is a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group and a mediatior, and hence, must maintain a certain neutrality. And this is understandable.

Al Jazeera: There are appraisals in Armenia that after coming to power, your relationship with Russia, a close ally to Armenia, has weakened and that you are more in favor of the West, which has shifted the paradigms. How do you react to that accusation?

Nikol Pashinyan: You know, this is an absurd accusation, because Russia has been Armenia’s strategic ally and remains Armenia’s strategic ally. Russia is not neutral in terms of being a strategic ally of Armenia. The Russian authorities and President Putin repeatedly stated that Russia will fulfill its security-related commitments towards the Republic of Armenia, if necessary. As for the Karabakh issue, I have already said that Russia has been a co-chairing, and mediating country since the formation of the Minsk Group, and thus had an obligation to maintain neutrality. And so far his status has not changed.

Al Jazeera: What is your relationship with the West? You have not spoken to the U.S. President since the start of hostilities. Do you think that points to anything?

Nikol Pashinyan: I have had phone talks and I keep in close touch with the President of France, with the U.S. Secretary of State, with the U.S. President’s Security Advisor. In general, we are working to present the essence of the issue to the international community. And the essence of what is going on is as follows: we can say with confidence that without the provocation of Turkey this war would not have started, it would not have happened.

And again, I want to state that based on the already internationally accepted fact, Turkey has recruited mercenaries, terrorists and transferred them to the conflict zone. High-ranking Turkish military officers are involved in the war against Karabakh. I want to emphasize that this is not an accident at all. In my opinion, this is the expression of Turkey’s imperialistic policy. We see what policy Turkey is pursuing in Syria, Iraq, the Mediterranean Sea and the South Caucasus. Turkey pursues a policy of restoration of the Ottoman Empire. And I have no doubt that the expansion that is now being attempted to the Mediterranean, the South Caucasus, Syria, Iraq, the whole Arab world is viewed by Turkey as a potential subordinate of the Ottoman Empire.

I have no doubt that if the international community, including Europe and the Arab world, does not properly assess this situation and respond to it, we will see Turkey’s expansionist policy towards the south. I am glad that there are many Arab countries that accurately assess the geopolitical situation, and take the necessary political and strategic preventive measures.

Al Jazeera: Azerbaijan declares that you have lost territories. Can you get back those lands or not?

Nikol Pashinyan: Yesterday (October 27) I delivered a message, I said the following. In essence, Nagorno-Karabakh, an unrecognized state, is currently fighting against international terrorists, Azerbaijani and Turkish Air forces and Special Forces.

According to some reports, Special Forces from Pakistan are taking part in the fighting. And it is obvious that the attack sought a swift victory over Nagorno-Karabakh by means of a blitzkrieg. But the small unrecognized republic, which has withstood for a month now, is fighting against huge international powerhouses and is still holding.

And every day of continued war will bring frustration to Azerbaijan, and the Azerbaijani society. Because of what you were mentioning earlier, that the Azerbaijani authorities have fed their society with so much victorious information that they have been waiting, every day, and for a long time now, for the end of the war, and their final victory. And they are just waiting for that news.

I want to say that they will not get that news. And they will be stuck until they recognize the legitimate right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to self-determination, until we all make sincere efforts to reach a constructive diplomatic solution.

Al Jazeera: Regarding now the transparency of the information related to the hostilities. There are maps that show what Azerbaijan has taken under its control. How transparent are you in this matter?

Nikol Pashinyan: We have published maps, and we give our society the necessary information. Our society is aware of everything. I cannot say the same about the Azerbaijani society.

Al Jazeera: Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for the interview.

Nikol Pashinyan: Thank you.

Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:


Service sector in Ukraine switched to official language from January 16
On January 16, the Ukrainian law on the functioning of Ukrainian as an official language came into effect, Ukrinform news agency reported....
Meetings with people in regions should be held more often, Vanetsyan says
The meeting of the representatives of the opposition Homeland Salvation Movement with residents of Vanadzor town in Armenia's Lori province...
Armenia sees decline in pastry, ice cream production
The pastry production volumes have dropped in Armenia in January-November 2020, the country's Statistical Committee reported in its updated...
Georgia confirms 23 coronavirus fatalities over the past day
Georgia has reported 1,236 new cases of coronavirus after conducting 15,152 tests over the last 24 hours, Agenda.ge reported. 485 out of the new...
Armenian-American Ike Hajinazarian named as Regional Communications Director at the White House
US President-elect Joe Biden has named Armenian American Ike Hajinazarian as Regional Communications Director at the White House, the Public...
Powerful earthquake in Indonesia kills at least 67, injures hundreds
At least 67 people have died after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia's Sulawesi island early Friday, according to the head of the...
Vazgen Manukyan: We are not the side to instigate a war but ready to resist
"Some people believe that is Pashinyan is replaced, the war will resume. That is not true," Vazgen Manukyna, the candidate for the...
Air temperature to gradually go down by 12-15 degrees
Precipitation is predicted in the daytime of January 16, in the daytime of 20, in the evening of 21 in separate regions, on January 18-19, in...
The search operations resumed in Artsakh after Aliyev's visit to Shushi
The search operations for bodies of killed in the Nagorno-Karabakh war zone have resumed on Saturday, the head of the press department of...
British company stops export of parts for Turkish Bayraktar drones
A British company Andair that supplies parts to Turkish drone company Baykar Makina has halted exports to Turkey after their components were...
Sadyr Japarov wins 79.23% of votes in presidential election in Kyrgyzstan
Sadyr Japarov won 79.23% of the vote in the early presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan, the Central Election Commission reported on Saturday....
Vardan Voskanyan: Aliyev is perpetually insecure about own capabilities and full of inner fears
Political analyst Vardan Voskanyan has commented on Facebook the visit of Azerbaijani president and his family to the occupied Shushi town of...
340 trucks accumulated on Russian side of Lars checkpoint
According to the information provided by the  Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, Stepantsminda-Larsi highway is closed for all types...
Armenia’s COVID-19 deaths reached 3,715 on January 16
Armenia has confirmed 263 new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in a 24-hour period, bringing the national tally to 164,235 as of 11...
January 16 marked as Beatles Day
Beatles Day is celebrated worldwide on 16 January. Legendary group The Beatles was approved by UNESCO on this day in 2001. The Beatles were...
Armenian Church pays tribute to Patriarch St. Peter, Bishop St. Vlas and Deacon Abisolom
The Armenian Apostolic Church commemorates on Thursday, January 16, Patriarch St. Peter, Bishop St. Vlas and Deacon Abisolom, Qahana.am reports....
About 100 peacekeepers at observation posts in Nagorno-Karabakh vaccinated "Sputnik-V"
Military medics of the Russian Peacekeeping Contingent (RPC) have started vaccinating peacekeepers at observation posts in the Lachin corridor...
Tigran Abrahamyan: Authorities do not realize the war resumption does not depend only on us
The head of 'Henaket' analytical center Tigran Abrahamyan reacted to the comments by Deputy Speaker of Parliament, member of the ruling...
Donald Trump to leave Washington on morning of Biden's inauguration
US President Donald Trump will leave Washington next Wednesday morning just before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration to begin his...
Intercommunity roads in Akhuryan and Amasia regions difficult to pass
Some roads are closed in the territory of Armenia, according to the road updates by the Ministry of Emergency Situations. In Aragatsotn...
Anna Naghdalyan: The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is still far from being resolved,
Armenian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Naghdalyan on Friday reacted to the statement made by the representative of the Foreign Ministry of...
Armenian FM, UK Minister discussed situation around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in phone call
Ara Aivazian held a phone conversation with Wendy Morton, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for European Neighbourhood and the Americas, the...
Turkey to discuss supply of second S-400 regiment with Russia in late January
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Friday Ankara’s plans to discuss with Moscow supplies of the second set of S-400...
Authorities took no action to stop the war - Vazgen Manukyan
"We were not protected during the war, as we had failed to purchase proper armament," Vazgen Manukyan, the candidate for PM's post...
The Armenian Ski Championships to kick off in Ashotsk
The first stage of the Armenian Ski Championships will kick off on January 16 in Ashotsk, Shirak province of Armenia, the National Olympic...
Dutch government resigns over child benefits scandal
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government stepped down on Friday after it emerged that officials had wrongly pursued thousands of people...
We should not let Azerbaijan politicize the issue of prisoners - Ombudsman
"Armenian children are particularly targeted by Azerbaijani anti-Armenian policy, which is deliberately encouraged," the Human Rights...
Lars road closed for all types of vehicles due to snowfall hazard
Some roads are closed in the territory of Armenia, according to thread updates by the Ministry of Emergency Situations. In Aragatsotn...
Putin discussed the outcome of the Karabakh trilateral summit with permanent members of Russia's Security Council
Russian President Vladimir Putin informed the permanent members of the Russian Security Council about the outcome of the January 11 trilateral...
Annika Soder named Special Representative of OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the South Caucasus
The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden Ann Linde, announced on Friday the appointments of her Special...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}