YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—President Serzh Sarkisian on Monday said that Armenia would recognize the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic if Azerbaijan continues and escalates its military attacks on Artsakh, which have claimed military and civilian life and are the worse clashes since the 1994 cease-fire agreement.
Speaking to ambassadors representing member states of the OSCE—Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe—whose Minsk Group is tasked with resolving the Karabakh conflict, Sarkisian said further escalation of military hostilities will not only threaten the stability of the South Caucasus region, but endanger Europe.
“The Republic of Armenia, as a party to the 1994 Ceasefire Agreement, will continue to fully implement its obligations to ensure the security of the people of Nagorno Karabakh. Moreover, I have instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work with Nagorno Karabakh to elaborate an agreement on mutual military assistance. And here I would like to state what I have declared on many occasions – should military actions continue and escalate into larger scales, the Republic of Armenia will recognize the independence of Nagorno Karabakh,” explained Sarkisian.
“Azerbaijan continues to target civilians, using multiple rocket launchers and mortars. After the so-called ‘unilateral ceasefire,’ the Azerbaijani armed forces continued their active military attacks along the line of contact as well as shelled the residential areas of Nagorno Karabakh,” Sarkisian told the OSCE diplomatic corps referring to an declaration by Azerbaijan of a “unilateral cease-fire.”
Despite the Azerbaijani announcement, its military continued its wide-spread attacks on military and civilian targets and was met with fierce retaliation by the Artsakh Armed Forces.
In assessing the situation, Sarkisian told the ambassadors, that Turkey, as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, is doing its utmost to flare up the conflict through statements of unconditional support to Azerbaijan by it president, foreign ministry and defense ministry.
“One of the OSCE participating states, Turkey, which often reminds about its membership to the Minsk Group, is acting from a position of inciting a great war in the region and is explicitly encouraging the adventuristic policy of the Azerbaijani leadership,” said Sarkisian, adding that as Azerbaijan brags about its so-called victories, Turkey is quick to send congratulatory messages through its various ministries.
“While the international community condemns the use of force in Nagorno-Karabakh, albeit only through words, Turkey is the only country providing unwavering support to the Azerbaijan. The statements made by Ankara before and after the current situation—through which it seems to compete with Azerbaijan with its anti-Armenian stance– can form a new hotbed of tension in the region, something with which Turkey has experience in the Near East. All those who wished to see Turkey among the mediators, now understand, that the country, having adopted the approach of the so-called ‘blood-kinship security,’ should be completely kept away from the process of the Karabakh conflict resolution,” said Sarkisian.
On Monday Sarkisian also visited wounded soldiers who have been transferred to Yerevan for treatment and attended a Mass at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral, officiated by His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, for soldiers protecting the homeland.