Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan urged Israel to stop selling weapons to Azerbaijan, saying “Arms trade to Azerbaijan is fatal.”
In an interview published Thursday in the Jerusalem Post, Mnatsakanyan warned that the weapons sold by Israel to Azerbaijan are being used on civilian targets, vowing that Yerevan will continue to pursue the matter as “an integral part of our agenda.”
“Arms trade to Azerbaijan is fatal, because Azerbaijan never hesitates to use those weapons against civilian infrastructure, the civilian population,” Mnatsakanyan told the Jerusalem Post.
“We will consistently pursue this issue, it will always be an integral part of our agenda both on bilateral and multilateral platforms. Israel should stop this deadly business with Azerbaijan,” added Mnatsakanyan.
Mnatsakanyan was questioned about the veracity of reports that during the most recent escalation of tensions on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, a number of Israel-made Azerbaijani drones were downed.
Armenia’s Defense Ministry reported, on numerous occasions during this month’s fighting, that Armenian Armed Forces downed several Azerbaijani drones that were made in Israel. Armenia’s defense ministry placed the fragments and remnants of the downed drones on display for the press and public to see.
“For us those weapons are deadly as they kill our people,” Mnatsakanyan told the Jersualem Post. “Our military has neutralized Azerbaijani weapons regardless of their perceived origins. Facts about weaponry obtained by Azerbaijan and used against civilian infrastructure and population of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are numerous and the July events serve as an additional proof.”
In the interview, Mnatsakanyan said that while Israeli-Armenian relations have improved in recent years – the Armenian president was in Israel in January – Israel’s continued supply of advanced weaponry to Azerbaijan remains an outstanding issue for the countries.
Armenia’s top diplomat explained that recent Azerbaijani aggression “did not happen in a vacuum.”
“On the eve of the escalation Azerbaijan at the level of highest political-military leadership had been consistently voicing threats of war, territorial and historic claims against Armenia, coupled with very vocal dissatisfaction of the work of the international mediators – the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs,” explained Mnatsakanyan.
The foreign minister told the Jerusalem Post that it was the second attempt by Azerbaijan to resolve the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh “exclusively on their terms,” but “that show of force by Azerbaijan and its perceived military advantage dramatically failed and we have a clear case of miscalculation.”
“Unlike Azerbaijan, Armenia agreed to all proposals of the international mediators to strengthen the ceasefire by putting on the ground more monitors and introducing investigative mechanisms into ceasefire violations,” he said.
“Armenia continues to advocate those and other measures to reduce risks of escalation,” said Mnatsakanyan, explaining that Armenia is prepared to adhere to the ceasefire.
The foreign minister also touched on what the Jerusalem Post called “Israel’s persistent refusal” to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Turning to Israel’s persistent refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide, Mnatsakanyan said: “Recognition of the Armenian Genocide by a nation that survived the horrors of the Holocaust is a moral issue. It’s on your conscience. I know that many Jews – public personalities, intellectuals and ordinary people – strongly share this point of view. However, it is up to the authorities of Israel to recognize the Armenian Genocide or refrain from doing it. It’s not only about Armenia but Israel as well.”