Baku prepares large-scale military attack against Armenia – Pashinyan says at Bundestag
YEREVAN, MARCH 3, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan's working visit to the Federal Republic of Germany continues. Today, the Prime Minister was hosted in the Bundestag and had a meeting with the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee headed by Chairman Michael Roth. The latter welcomed the Prime Minister and noted that the visit is a good opportunity to discuss both the Armenian-German inter-parliamentary cooperation and the processes taking place in the South Caucasus region, ARMENPRESS was informed from the Office of the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Pashinyan made a speech, in which he specifically stated:
I am very happy to be here and to see you, because I think there are many issues that we would like to discuss today. I hope today we will have an open and constructive discussion.
You emphasized that there is a new factor in our relations with the EU, and that factor is the monitoring mission of the EU along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. First of all, I would like to thank the EU for taking this decision. That decision was the outcome of the quadrilateral meeting in Prague when the short-term mission arrived. After that, we applied for a long-term mission and we are grateful to the EU for making that decision.
In general, the situation remains tense, first of all due to the continuous blocking of the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, despite the decision of the International Court of Justice, Azerbaijan has not opened the Lachin Corridor yet. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the decision of the ICJ has a legally binding force. I think this is a situation that should be discussed at the international level, because it is unacceptable to leave the decision of the International Court of Justice without a reaction, in particular, when the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno Karabakh continues, and an international reaction is needed.
By the way, what is very important in this context? it has been more than 80 days that the Lachin Corridor has been closed, and during this time Azerbaijan insisted that the Lachin Corridor is not closed, it is open. The decision of the International Court of Justice is very important in terms of clarifying this issue, because the court stated that the Lachine Corridor is closed and should be opened.
During my visit, I heard some opinions that support the idea of sending an international monitoring or fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh and the Lachine Corridor to observe the humanitarian situation and see what is happening there, because it is a crisis that could have irreversible consequences, it can grow into a humanitarian disaster. I think we should work together to prevent the situation from getting out of control.
But the most important question is why Azerbaijan is doing this. We are sure that Azerbaijan's goal is to carry out ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh and cleans Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh. I think the latest statement of Azerbaijani president Aliyev proves this, because Aliyev said that the Lachin Corridor is open for Armenians who want to leave Karabakh, which I think automatically means that the Lachin Corridor is closed for Armenians who live in Nagorno Karabakh and who want to live there. This is the core cause of Azerbaijan's actions.
There are concerns that this is just the beginning of escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh, perhaps along the Armenia-Azerbaijani border as well, because Azerbaijan continues to express aggressive thoughts, aggressive rhetoric. You know that last September, Azerbaijan initiated a large-scale aggression against Armenia, occupying the sovereign territories of Armenia. But, on the other hand, we reached an agreement in Prague, according to which Armenia and Azerbaijan recognize each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty, based on the Alma Ata Declaration of 1991, which means that the administrative borders of the Soviet states turn into state borders. Alma Ata's declaration was about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States. 13 former Soviet states agreed that administrative borders become state borders.
By the way, we also reached an agreement in Prague that the border delimitation process between Armenia and Azerbaijan will be based on the same declaration of Alma Ata. The surprise was that after that the president of Azerbaijan announced that the delimitation should be based on historical maps. You know, it's very difficult to explain what that means. Maybe the new initiative of the president of Azerbaijan can clarify this situation, because recently we witnessed the presentation of the so-called "Western Azerbaijan" initiative, and the whole idea of this initiative is that the entire territory of the Republic of Armenia belongs to Azerbaijan, and the capital of Armenia is an Azerbaijani city.
Our assessment is that all this, the blocking of the Lachin Corridor, the so-called "Western Azerbaijan" initiative, is a preparation for a large-scale aggression against Armenia.
By the way, I would like to draw your attention to another very important situation. We had a discussion at the German Council on Foreign Relations yesterday, and some of our colleagues there used the so-called "Zangezur Corridor" term. I asked our colleagues to be careful because sometimes the same word can have different meanings in different regions and in different political and geopolitical circumstances. Usually in Europe, saying corridor, people mean routes that provide transport services with better quality, etc. But our situation is that we have a legally agreed point on the word corridor in our trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020, which put an end to the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
So we only have one point about corridor there and that is the Lachin corridor which is currently blocked. The Lachin Corridor was established for providing connection between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Lachin Corridor is not just a road, it is a security zone with a width of 5 km, and according to the relevant point of the statement, Lachin Corridor should be outside the control of Azerbaijan and should be under the control of Russian peacekeepers.
In the same declaration, we have point 9, which is about the opening of all transport and economic routes in our region. And yes, there is a point that Armenia should provide a connection between the western regions of Azerbaijan and the Autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan, but there is no point that those routes should be outside of Armenia's control. That route should operate in the context of the opening of roads and railways in our region. I must mention that Armenia is ready to open all communications even today. But every time we try to do this, Azerbaijan says that these routes should not be under the control and legislation of Armenia, which is totally unacceptable to us. Recently, the president of Azerbaijan publicly admitted that there is no point in the trilateral declaration about the so-called "Zangezur Corridor", and it was he who incorporated such that term into the context of regional communications.
The problem is how one can unilaterally incorporate something into the trilateral declaration? This is a total absurd. Thus, I would like that phrase not to be used, because it would mean support for Azerbaijan's territorial ambitions against Armenia. But, on the other hand, I once again confirm that we are ready to open. Moreover, for more than six months now, we have a draft government decision on opening three checkpoints on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, but every time we try to adopt this decision, the Azerbaijani side makes a lot of noise, saying why they want to open a checkpoint near our borders without adjusting with us.
This is the overall situation, but I think we should focus on the peace agenda. As you know, our government has taken responsibility for the peace agenda, I am personally committed to the
peace agenda and democracy, because I believe that democracy and peace go together, and because democracy is a strategy for us, we are interested in peace so that we can ensure the continuous development of democracy, economy and freedom. This was the general assessment of the situation. I will gladly answer your questions."
Next, Prime Minister Pashinyan answered a number of questions of the members of the Bundestag.