YEREVAN, October 14, /ARKA/ In an interview with Reuters Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Tuesday that only a change in Turkey’s stance on Nagorno-Karabakh could prompt Azerbaijan to halt military action, the Armenian government press office reported.
‘But, in his first interview since a ceasefire deal was agreed Saturday in Moscow on the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, he gave no indication to Reuters that he saw any sign of Ankara shifting its position,’ the government cited Reuters as saying.
Speaking at his official residence, a huge Soviet-era building in the centre of the Armenian capital Yerevan, Pashinyan accused Turkey of sabotaging the ceasefire and of trying to muscle its way into the wider South Caucasus region to further what he called its expansionist ambitions.
“I am convinced that for as long as Turkey’s position remains unchanged, Azerbaijan will not stop fighting,” Pashinyan said.
Nikol Pashinyan said Turkey had stated publicly, before the ceasefire talks, that it believed Azerbaijan should keep fighting, and that Turkey’s foreign minister had phoned the Azeri foreign minister after the deal. The Prime Minister of Armenia suggested the purpose of the Turkish post-ceasefire call “was really an instruction not to dare under any circumstance to stop fighting.”
“Turkey has come to the South Caucasus to continue the policy it is carrying out in the Mediterranean against Greece and Cyprus, or in Libya, or in Syria, or in Iraq. It is an expansionist policy. Turkey’s expansionist plans to the north, to the east, and to the southeast are well known, the point is that Armenians in the South Caucasus are the last impediment on that way. And now Turkey is not tackling the Karabakh issue at all. Turkey is trying to continue its genocidal policy, since Armenians in the South Caucasus are the last remaining obstacle on its path to advancing that expansionist policy to the north, east and south-east,” he said.
The Armenian Premier reiterated that Turkey is carrying on the policies of the Ottoman Empire at the start of the 20th century, something he called a continuation of the Armenian genocide.
“The whole of the South Caucasus will become Syria and that fire would spread to the north and to the south rapidly, practically within a few months, and to the east – in the long run” Nikol Pashinyan said.”
On September 27th the Azerbaijani military launched a large-scale offensive against the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) using missiles, artillery and suicide drones against civilian populations in Artsakh’s capital Stepanakert as well as other civilian populations in and around Artsakh, as well as against certain areas of the Republic of Armenia’s town of Vardenis, causing death and injury to dozens of civilians.
According to official Armenian sources, 5,139 Azerbaijani soldiers have been killed in the heavy fighting since September 27 and thousands have been wounded. Armenian troops have destroyed 521 tanks and armored vehicles, 4 MLRS Smerch and Uragan, 4 MLRS TOS-1A, 173 UAVs, 16 helicopters and 18 aircraft.
According to the defense ministries of Armenia and Artsakh, about 530 Armenian servicemen have been killed and several hundred have been wounded. As a result of war crimes committed by Azerbaijan, 30 civilians have been killed and over 100 wounded.
Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a Russia-brokered cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh starting at 12 pm October 10 after 10 hours of talks in Moscow sponsored by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The parties reaffirmed their commitment to the humanitarian ceasefire for the exchange of prisoners of war and the bodies of those killed through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement October 10 evening that violating its own commitment, Azerbaijan continued military operations in various sectors of the frontline, firing also at settlements of the Syunik region of Armenia. -0-