MUNICH (Combined Sources)–President Serzh Sarkisian was in Munich over the weekend discussing the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict at the 45th annual Munich Security Conference.
International defense experts, ministers and more than a dozen heads of state or government had gathered in the German city for a three-day summit to discuss the world’s leading foreign policy concerns, including Iran’s nuclear program, the future of NATO and Russian-U.S. relations.
On its third day, the conference focused on peace and security in the South Caucasus and Balkans regions.
President Sarkisian presented Armenia’s position on the region’s security concerns, warning that the increasing militarization of the South Caucasus by Azerbaijan poses great risks to regional peace and stability. Azerbaijan and Georgia were also represented at the conference by their foreign ministers.
Sarkisian spoke to the fragile peace in the region, stressing that “any impulsive statement or ill-considered step” carries with it “unpredictable consequences” in the South Caucasus. The recurrence of belligerent statemen’s amid an ongoing arms race with drastic increases in military budgets, he said, is creating an atmosphere that will “inevitably result in actions” that usually “can get out of control.”
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, responded to Sarkisian’s remarks, accusing Armenia of aggression and justifying Baku’s ongoing military buildup as a response to Armenia’s so called occupation of Azerbaijani land.
“If the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan ascribes the militant rhetoric, the arms race, the destructive approaches I referred to in my speech to his country, he is, probably, right,” Sarkisian said in response to Mammadyarov’s commen’s.
“I think it’s not fair to speak about aggression taking into consideration that Azerbaijan launched aggression against the newly-independent Nagorno Karabakh Republic,” Sarkisian said.
The people of Nagorno-Karabakh had to defend themselves from possible annihilation at the hands of an occupying Azerbaijani Army bombing and shelling villages as it invaded the newly independent republic, Sarkisian explained. “Are people guilty that they managed to survive?”
“[Mammadyarov] is mistaken in another issue,” Sarkisian continued, pointing to Azerbaijan’s unconstructive attempts to use military threats and economic sanctions to dictate conditions to Armenia for a Karabakh settlement.
“Indeed, let’s sit at the bargaining table, let’s negotiate on the basis of all internationally accepted standards and achieve a peaceful solution,” he said. “I think some politicians are thinking that certain means can serve to frighten other states, that they can impose something on another country with a war.”
“I have declared many times and I repeat that we are not afraid of fighting, but we do not want war," Sarkisian stressed