YEREVAN—President Serzh Sarkisian on Sunday said that official Baku is still repeating the same rhetoric that was being used by Azeri leaders in the 1990s, when Armenia was being deemed weak against a “strong” Azerbaijan. Sarkisian pointed out that Armenians emerged as the victors despite the Azeri propaganda.
Speaking to the participants of the Misasin 2011 Pan-Armenian Youth Forum at Lake Sevan, Sarkisian said that the current regime was using the same tactics, but assured his audience that Azerbaijan cannot gain military advantage, despite its continuous increase in its military capability.
“For decades, the people of Azerbaijan were being instilled with the idea that Karabakh belonged to Azerbaijan and now the leadership of Azerbaijan faces immense complexities since they have never tried to be honest with their own people and to conduct an open conversation,” said Sarkisian.
Sarkisian said that the Azeri government has not told its people that “this [Karabakh] is Armenian land, Armenians have been living here for ages and it would be nice, since first of all it stems from our own interests, if we respect freedom of these people, so that they and we live happily.”
The president went on to accuse Baku of continuously poisoning its people against Armenians and, through anti-Armenian slogans, inciting hatred toward Armenians.
“You certainly cannot remember but your parents, your older friends will remember that in the beginning of the 90s, presidents of Azerbaijan–Ayaz Mutalibov, Abulfaz Elchibey–were telling the same tale of how powerful Azerbaijan was, how weak Armenia and Karabakh were, how great in numbers Azeris were and how small in numbers Armenians were,” explained Sarkisian.
“The same story is being told now, isn’t it? The Azerbaijani President doesn’t tire of repeating that Azerbaijan has lots of money, a powerful economy, and that its population is 9 million people,” added Sarkisian.
“The rest of them were using today’s rhetoric. And what happened? Everybody knows quite well what happened. I am confident that military actions is a road leading nowhere. Azerbaijan is not able to establish military advantage over Armenia,” said Sarkisian.
“The people of Nagorno Karabakh have realized their right to self-determination long ago and now they are mastering their own destiny. Today, Nagorno Karabakh faces the challenge of recognition, which will be resolved sooner or later. When it’s going to be solved is another issue because the sooner it’s resolved the better for Azerbaijan, for Armenia and for Karabakh,” said Sarkisian.