Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan gave what can be deemed as one of the most resolute responses by Yerevan to the continued arm sales by Israel it Azerbaijan.
“For Israel, it’s just trade, but for us, it’s death,” Mnatsakanyan told Israeli journalist Yossi Melman during an interview, which was published in the Jerusalem Post on Friday.
“Israel’s arms trade is a weapon of death for our people. We have been witnessing the use of such weapons against our people. We have losses because of your weapons that are used against us. We are a security conscious nation and are highly confident in our capacity to defend ourselves, and you will understand very well what that means,” Mnatsakanyan told Melman, adding that Israel’s relations with Azerbaijan, including selling of weapons to Baku “remains an issue of great concern for us on several counts.”
“At the same time,” he said, “we are dedicated to developing peace and security in our region. The arms race in our region does not contribute to building peace and security.”
“We are very insistent that building relations with one partner will not be at the expense of another partner. But we also expect that all our partners will do the same. We are also very sensitive to the sensitivities of our partners,” added Mnatsakanyan.
On the issue of Israel’s refusal to recognize the Armenian Genocide, Mnatsakanyan placed the onus directly on Israel for failing to advance justice and humanity.
“It’s not a matter for me to be surprised. I represent a nation that still faces the pressure of justice denied over 105 years. My people are victories [sic] because we were supposed to be wiped off the face of the earth.”
“The question of denied justice is about humanity. It is for Israel to decide whether to recognize [the Armenian genocide] or not. It is not about Armenia, it is about Israel. It is our collective duty nowadays to reduce the risk of genocide and atrocities,” said Mnatsakanyan.
The foreign minister sounded upbeat about advancing relations between Armenia and Israel, citing the many common attributes that drive both nations. Recently, Armenia signaled that it would open an embassy in Israel.
“Our two peoples have so much in common: suffering, rich histories and cultures,” said Mnatsakanyan.
“We have a great history and civilization. We have an enormous sense of national identity and pride, so we can work together in so many fields of economy, agriculture, hi-tech, tourism, direct flights, health culture, education and so on and so forth,” added the foreign minister.