Border issues should be resolved so that they do not become a casus belli for Azerbaijan to attack Armenia - Swiss MP

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Border issues should be resolved so that they do not become a casus belli for Azerbaijan to attack Armenia - Swiss MP

YEREVAN, MAY 14, ARMENPRESS. Stefan Müller-Altermatt, a member of the National Council of Switzerland, in an interview with Armenpress, expressed an opinion that the Armenian-Azerbaijani border issues must be resolved at some point, and the terrible legacy of Stalin must be overcome, because otherwise they are always a possible casus belli that Azerbaijan can use to attack Armenia.

The interview is presented below:

- Azerbaijan has violated the territorial integrity of Armenia, refuses to return Armenian POWs as well as continues to make aggressive announcements, why doesn’t the European Union impose any sanctions on Azerbaijan or Aliyev himself?

- Because of a combination of disinterest and self-interest. Europe and the USA are completely absorbed in terms of security policy with the wars in Ukraine and Israel. And because of the sanctions against Russia, Europe is dependent on other oil and gas suppliers. And then there is the fact that Azerbaijan is very actively involved in political processes in Europe. "Caviar diplomacy" is now a recognised term. And unfortunately, it is successful: there are also among Western politicians weak people who throw their values overboard for a few conveniences.

- How important would be the deepening of relations between Armenia and the European Union for the security and prosperity of the region? How would you assess the high-level meeting of Armenia-EU-US in Brussels on April 5?

- The meeting was of enormous importance. Azerbaijan's nervous provocations in the week before 5 April proved this. Europe's commitment to Armenia's security was long overdue.

In the end, Armenia is once again a pawn of the geopolitical situation. The country clearly decided in favour of democracy and the rule of law in 2018. It is then also the task of the Western community of values to protect this country when the surrounding authoritarian states, which are opposed to democracy and the rule of law, attack it. Russia, as the leading power in the authoritarian bloc, will do everything in its power to keep Armenia in its hands. That is why rapid and fruitful talks with the European Union are extremely important.

And when I say "quickly", I can certainly give a date: Armenia needs comprehensive security guarantees from the West before the end of COP29 in Baku. Because I am very sure that Aliyev will lose any friendly face after COP29 and that Putin will also force him to take violent action. But there is no way back for Armenia. That is why the West must now really show its colours for Armenia - quickly.

- Recently, Armenia and Azerbaijan reached an agreement on starting the border delimitation process based on the Alma-Ata Declaration. How would you evaluate this agreement and, in your opinion, can it bring peace to the two countries and the South Caucasus region?

- At some point, the border issues must be resolved and this terrible Stalinist legacy overcome. Especially from the Armenian point of view, because otherwise they are always a possible casus belli that Azerbaijan can use to attack Armenia. The agreement with Azerbaijan itself is probably less important than the effective work on the border - the Aliyev regime does not honour any agreements anyway. However, if the demarcation can be carried out in a way that is acceptable to Armenia, then effective, visible facts will have been created that even a tyrant cannot ignore.

The events in Tavush show that it is extremely difficult on the Armenian side. At the same time, it is also a sign to the world: Armenian democracy is stable enough to be able to deal with even such understandably elementary issues.

- In recent years there have been a lot of talks about the need to unblock the regional communications in the South Caucasus. Azerbaijan demands the so-called “Zangezur corridor” from Armenia by threatening at the same time to get it by force. How would you assess such an aggressive and unprovoked behaviour of Azerbaijan?

- Unfortunately, this behaviour is logical for the Aliyev regime. After violently destroying and ethnically cleansing the Republic of Artsakh, he now needs new claims against Armenia. Because he draws his raison d'être from the enemy image of Armenia: Aliyev is a kleptocrat, a tyrant who robs his own people. With the mineral resources in the Caspian Sea, the Azerbaijani people should actually be among the richest in the world. But the money only ends up in the pockets of the regime and its loyal followers. Now imagine what would happen if the Armenian people, who have no such mineral resources, were to achieve economic prosperity as well as democracy, freedom of expression, the rule of law, etc.. It would be a total defeat for Aliyev. That is why he has to keep Armenia small and attack it again and again - just as Putin is condemned to attack Ukraine again and again.

- In response to these claims of the Azerbaijani side, last year the Government of Armenia initiated the "Crossroads of Peace" project. What is your opinion on this initiative?

- It is the logical and clever response to the Azerbaijani demands, because "Crossroads of Peace" takes up the arguments of the other side and exposes them as a pretext for chauvinist aggression. Azerbaijan justifies the demand for the "Zangezur Corridor" with the interrupted communication routes. If this were really the problem, then one would have to agree to "Crossroads of Peace", because this plan addresses this problem with a much more comprehensive solution than just the Zangezur Corridor.

Apart from these tactical considerations, it is of course the case that open borders, trade and understanding always support peace. But Moscow, Baku and Ankara are not interested in any of this. They are only interested in securing their influence and the regime - and are therefore against the values that Armenia so impressively achieved in 2018.

Davit Mamyan


Armenia, Yerevan, 0002, Martiros Saryan 22


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