Touches on Israel’s Arms Sales to Baku,, Armenia Ties to Iran
YEREVAN—In an interview with Israel’s Public Broadcasting Corporation, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said that Armenia has an expectation from Israel to recognize the Armenian Genocide. He also addressed Israel’s continued arms sales to Azerbaijan, saying that “trade of arms is not like trading vegetable,” warning that such practices have their “dark side.”
“The two nations have gone through the horrors of genocide. Many scholars, many politicians consider that in case of adequate condemnation of the Armenian Genocide it could have been possible to prevent Shoah and other genocides. That is why of course, we are expecting that Israel will officially recognize the Armenian Genocide,” said Nalbandian.
“We believe that more and more people in Israel favor the recognition, including in the Parliament. I had a meeting with the Chairman of the Knesset. He again expressed his very clear position of the importance of the recognition by Knesset of the Armenian Genocide,” Nalbandian added.
In discussing the Israel’s arms sales to Azerbaijan, Nalbandian warned of the negative consequences this practice may pose for Israel.
“The trade of arms is not a trade of vegetables and such kind of trade always has its black side, which could have some negative consequences. What’s important in Armenia’s relations with Israel is that we have no taboo for discussing all the questions, even sensitive questions we are discussing openly and we are trying to find ways out,” said Nalbandian.
Speaking of Armenia’s cooperation with Iran and the latter’s role in the region, Nalbandian said: “We have good relations with neighboring Iran, we cooperate in different fields. Taking into consideration that we have closed borders with other two neighbors, with Turkey and Azerbaijan, you have to understand that Iran and Georgia are the two neighbors with whom we have not just normal relations, but good cooperation. And we are deploying efforts with the aim to develop our bilateral cooperation and partnership.”
Nalbandian added that Armenia’s relations with Iran is “not an obstacle to Armenia’s bilateral relations with Israel, just like the Israel’s relations with any neighboring country of Armenia are not an obstacle to our relations.
Armenia and Israel have not yet exchanged Ambassadors. “Our position was very clear: as soon as Israel will open an embassy in Armenia, we will reciprocate and open an Embassy in Israel,” Edward Nalbandian said.
On Nagorno Karabakh, the Foreign Minister said: “We are never asking our friendly, partner countries to support Armenia against anybody, including Azerbaijan. On Nagorno-Karabakh issue our expectation is to support and to be in line with the position of the international community. The international community gave a mandate to the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group- the United States, Russia and France – to mediate the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. This is the unique situation that the United States, Russia and France, on the level of the Presidents of those countries, adopted five statement on how the conflict could be resolved in a very detailed way with concrete principles and concrete elements elaborated as an integrated whole. And Armenia’s position is in line with the position of the Co-Chair countries, so with the position of the international community.”
The Armenian Foreign Minister stated that “the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh has to be decided by the free expression of will of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh, which will have an internationally legally binding force, including for Azerbaijan. This is the position of the international community and we are expressing our support to this position, but Azerbaijan doesn’t.”
“Concerning the ceasefire violations, and by the way this is also the position of the three Co-Chair countries, so of the international community, including Armenia, that we have to respect the trilateral ceasefire agreements reached between Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan and Armenia in 1994-1995 without time limitations, three agreements about the ceasefire and about the consolidation of the ceasefire. Azerbaijan is always trying not to respect ceasefire agreements, and even to put under the question that those agreements are in force,” Edward Nalbandian stated.
“This is the difference between our position and the position of Azerbaijan. Even more, the international community through three co-chairs come up with the proposals to create investigation mechanism of violations of the ceasefire agreements. Armenia supports the proposal on the creation of mechanism of investigation of ceasefire violations which could serve as a mechanism of prevention. Azerbaijan is rejecting to creation of this mechanism, so the position of the three Co-Chair countries, of course they are mediators and could not always express their opinion about it openly and publicly. Nevertheless, they are always saying that the side, which is rejecting to create this mechanism of prevention takes the responsibility for all the violations of ceasefire,” the Armenian Foreign Minister added.