Tigran Balayan, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, called the Azerbaijani army’s new position fortifications on the Nakhichevan section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border a blatant disregard for the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries.
The fact that Azerbaijan acts irresponsibly and does not implement its assumed commitments is not something new, Balayan said.
“We constantly raise this issue both before the Co-Chair countries and our remaining partners and organizations,” Balayan said. “We think the Co-Chairs need a lot of work to do here, since not adhering to their calls and doing completely the opposite is, first of all, a disregard towards their countries.”
According to Balayan, Armenia’s ambassadors and diplomats regularly report Azerbaijan’s provocations to their partner international institutions. He noted that these developments — both on the Nakhichevan border and on the Artsakh line of contact — directly threaten Armenia’s security.
“Our ambassadors and diplomats understand quite well that the border between their offices and the line of contact is very little, we are the bearers of all this. We should present and continue presenting this to our foreign partners, who have been actively informed of military escalations regardless of whether it is a working day or not,” Balayan said.
Azerbaijan is due to hold large-scale military exercises July 2–6 involving 20,000 soldiers, 120 tanks and other armored vehicles, 200 rocket-artillery systems and 30 aviation units, among other weaponry.
The fact that Azerbaijan is holding military exercises without notifying the OSCE Co-Chairs must be of concern not only for Armenia but also for all partner countries, Balayan said. Given that no consequences exist for Azerbaijan, Armenia feels the need to publicize the Azerbaijani military actions in hopes of raising international concerns.
“There are formats where we raise our concern, for example, the OSCE has several such formats. The same documents that stipulate that Azerbaijan, or any other country, must notify in advance all other member countries about upcoming exercises do not include any punitive measures for notification violations. You can, however, raise a voice about it, you can say that there is such a problem, which we have done for many years because Azerbaijan has made it a habit to hold massive military exercises without even notifying through the corresponding closed OSCE system,” he said.
According to Balayan, Azerbaijan already has a long-held reputation in the international arena of being an irresponsible country, largely because of its disregard for international laws, norms and agreements.
Commenting on the deployment of Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) military units to the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, Balayan said, “I don’t think that the Armenian Armed Forces need support in order to keep complete control in the Nakhichevan section. The commitment to control our borders is put on the Armenian Armed Forces, and as the developments of the last two days showed, we are confidently and effectively fulfilling it.”
When asked about Armenian-Turkish relations after the recent reelection of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Balayan stated that he does not expect any new developments. As a result of Turkey’s current political situation and Erdogan’s pre-election rhetoric, there will be no process for normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations.
Balayan also noted that the Armenian government will not congratulate Erdogan on his reelection, per the precedent set in 2014.
“Until 2014, the Armenian and Turkish leaders exchanged formal congratulations on the national holidays,” Balayan explained. “Since August 2014, when Erdogan became the President of Turkey, the practice of formal congratulations stopped.”