YEREVAN (Armenpress)—Armenian Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan on Monday said that Azerbaijan opposed the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Republic people’s right to self-determination with military force.
“In the period of the USSR collapse, the people of the Republic of Artsakh exercised their right to self-determination within the frameworks of legislation and international legal norms and was able to form an effective state administration system during years, a clear model of economic and democratic development,” Sargsyan said in his speech during the visit of the Valdai International Dialogue Club.
“Unfortunately, at that time Azerbaijan opposed the self-determination right of the Artsakh people with military force. And despite the significant difference in arsenal and demographics, the people of Artsakh were able to defense their rights, form an effective system of state administration. Today, Artsakh is advancing with its own model of economic development, it is developing democracy, and all of this is significantly different from what Azerbaijan has to offer,” Sargsyan said.
He reminded that Armenia is the guarantor of security of the people of Artsakh and for 29 years it is forced to defend the security of the Artsakh population.
“Today, Azerbaijan is regularly breaching the ceasefire regime, therefore the Armed Forces of Armenia and the Defense Army of Artsakh are forced to adequately respond to the adversary’s actions and prevent attempts of solving the conflict militarily,” he said.
The Defense Minister pointed out that the presence of the Russian 102nd military base in Armenia is a serious response to possible Turkish threats in the region. “We proceed from the fact that few weeks ago an agreement on forming Armenian Russian joint groups was signed and the 102nd military base in Armenia is a serious response to possible threats of Turkey in the region,” Sargsyan said.
The Armenian people have sad memories from the past when the Soviet leaderships signed various agreements with the Turkish authorities. “But, at the same time, we have to view how the Russian-Turkish relations will affect the region,” he said.
Sargsyan also touched upon Armenia’s relations with Iran. “Armenia conducts quite an intensive dialogue with its neighboring Iran,” said Sargsyan.
“From the first days when Armenia gained independence, Iran has established balanced relations with Armenia and other countries of the region,” he said. “Meanwhile, Iran has managed to adopt balanced stance on the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) Republic conflict always offering its mediation mission and pursuing the principle of not hindering the mediators’ mission.”