President Serzh Sargsyan : Relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan

Interview Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan with Echo Moskvi


** Nagorno Karabakh conflict **

“Peaceful settlement is the only way to solve the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The only option is to hold a referendum in Nagorno Karabakh or recognize the results of the referendum held in 1991 in compliance with the legislation of the Soviet Union and international law. The issue can be solved only through compromise,” Serzh Sargsyan said

According to President Sargsyan, all humanitarian problems in Nagorno Karabakh can be solved only after a political solution is found. “When I'm speaking about long-term peace, I mean changes in the psychology of people. There is such an anti-Armenian rhetoric and xenophobia in Azerbaijan, that even a new term has appeared - intrigues of all Armenians. Azeris accuse Armenians of all their problems, ranging from refugees to iron malfunctioning in their houses.”

“The humanitarian issues could and had to be discussed in 1995, after the truce was signed. It was a very good opportunity for us to somehow try to forget the grief. However, the Azerbaijani leadership chose another way, they began to arm. They started waiting for better times, when Azerbaijan would have lots of oil dollars to buy weapons and solve the issue by force,” Sargsyan said.

“Azerbaijan is the only country in OSCE area that boasts of the manifold increase of its military spending. It is rather unclear for me. To tell the truth, it is clear. I don't understand the position of OSCE member states, of the world powers, who always say peace should be established in Karabakh and all issues should be resolved peacefully. On one hand these are good words, but they become only declarations, when no deeds follow. We all signed the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, which sets quotas. I understand all the complexities of the treaty and some countries' attitude towards the treaty. But either we must say the agreement does not exist, or call on colleagues and members of the organization to comply with treaty commitments,” the President noted.

Speaking about the possibility of resumption of military actions, President Sargsyan said it would be the most undesirable way. “To tell the truth, we have no choice. Only our desire to resolve the conflict peacefully is not enough. If there is no other way out, we will find ourselves in the situation of the early 90s. We should protect our population by all means,” he said.

“I remember very well the situation from 1988 to 1994, when many were saying that in a few days Azerbaijanis would drink tea in Stepanakert or wash their feet in Sevan in case of large-scale military actions. Thank God, it did not happen, because we protected our land, families and homes."

"In 1994, Azerbaijan was simply forced to ask for truce. In 1993 four UN Security Council resolutions demanded that the hostilities be immediately stopped, whereas Azerbaijan failed to do so. Now it tries to present that Armenia failed to comply with these resolutions. However, the international community knows that it did not depend on us. We had to defend ourselves.”

“I remembered the past, because history tends to repeat. Azeris think today that their army is so powerful that they will be able to solve the issue through a Blitzkrieg. We are ready for any development of events,” President Sargsyan stated.


** Turkish-Armenian Relations **

We will possibly return to the issue of establishment of relations with Turkey, “if Turks ratify the protocols without any preconditions. We are not ready for new talks or implementation of changes in the protocols.”

Serzh Sargsyan expressed gratitude to Russia, France and the United States for their statement that the Armenian-Turkish relations should be established without any preconditions. “That is why I see no sense in the start of new negotiations. What will we be talking about? The only continuation will be the ratification of the protocols by the Turkish Parliament.”

“If nothing changes, the only correct option for Armenia will be the withdrawal of its signature from the documents. In that case the protocols will have no force even if ratified by Turkey. I'm saying all this because even now, when the ball is in their court, Turks are trying to interfere with the settlement of the Karabakh conflict or other processes and speak of leadership in the region and the policy of Neo-Ottomanism,” President Sargsyan declared.

Only the country, which has no problems with neighbors can be a leader in the region, while Turkey's policy of “zero problems with neighbors” results in the search for solutions acceptable only to Turks and Turkey,” Serzh Sargsyan said, adding: “If they wish to influence some processes taking place in the region, they should be constructive.”


Public Radio of Armenia