STEPANAKERT (ARF Press Service)—President Serzh Sarkisian should not have gone to Munich for the OSCE-sponsored talks, in the wake Azeri President Ilham Aliyev’s military threats against Armenia, said Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member Vahan Hovanessian during a press conference Tuesday at the Artsakh press club.
The ARF leader said that Armenia’s absence from the Munich meeting would have been accepted by the international community since it would have fallen within international norms of peaceful conflict resolution principles.
“[Armenia] should have told the mediators that [Alieyv’s] announcement was equal to pressure and we do not see the imperative to negotiate under pressure,” said Hovannesian, who added that Aliyev’s military threats could not be seen as one of his regular such statements, but an ultimatum.
On Friday, Aliyev said in comments televised across his country, that if Armenia did not agree to “return occupied territories” Azerbaijan would have no problem in seizing them through military force.
Hovannesian suggested that Armenia could have used Aliyev’s remarks as weapon against Azerbaijan in the negotiation process, but failed to do so.
The mediators should have been urged by Sarkisian to call Azerbaijan to task on its unconstructive and damaging behavior, and by not attending the Munich talks Armenia could have sent a clear signal to Azerbaijan and the OSCE mediators that Armenia did not stand for such threats, he explained.
“I have stopped believing the Minsk Group co-chairs’ announcements, because they contradict themselves,” said Hovannesian.
“Everything is being done to squeeze concessions from Armenia on the Karabakh front, in order to make the Armenia-Turkey protocols approval process easier,” said Hovannesian, adding that the ARF had been warning the Armenian government about such traps, in which, the ARF believes, the Armenian authorities have fallen once before by agreeing to take part in the rapprochement process.
“The best option is to not ratify the protocols. This would not be such a frightening situation. The talks would begin from scratch or from a point where Armenia would have an opportunity to bypass the current dangers,” said Hovannesian.
Hovsannesian, who also leads the ARF parliamentary faction in Armenia, argued that Armenia’s response to Aliyev’s remarks—recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic—is but one element of solving the problem. He added that pursuing international recognition for Karabakh would facilitate Stepanakert’s complete participation in the peace process.
In his remarks, Hovannesian also commented on Russia’s recent posturing on issues related to Armenia, which he described as being Moscow’s closest regional ally.
“I consider Russia’s current role in both Armenian-Turkish and Armenian-Azeri relations to be very dangerous for Armenia,” said Hovannesian.