“An adequate response in this situation would be for European countries, the international community, individual nations to find strength in themselves, take a decisive step and recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh” - Nikol Pashinyan tells TV5 Monde
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan gave an interview to TV5 Monde TV channel. Below is the full transcript of the interview.
TV5 Monde - It has been 12 days now since large-scale hostilities started between Azerbaijan’s armed forces and the armed forces of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is talking to TV5 Monde.
Good evening, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for giving us this interview live from Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
First question: Everyone would like to know whether after 12 days of clashes you called for a ceasefire in Karabakh tonight.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - My appeal to the international community and Europe that comes following the past two days’ developments is about something else. The following has happened: Azerbaijan launched an offensive - a large-scale war against Nagorno-Karabakh - and this war started through Turkey’s active efforts and direct participation.
Turkey has transferred mercenaries from Syria to Azerbaijan to fight against Karabakh. The Armenians of Karabakh are facing an existential threat, a risk of genocide, a terrorist attack. Towns and civilian infrastructure, including the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh Stepanakert, are being shelled and bombed around the clock. Karabakh is undergoing a humanitarian crisis, a threat of genocide...
TV5 Monde – Genocide is a very strong wording. Genocide is the methodical annihilation of an ethnic group. Do you have any evidence of its being planned by Turkey?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - You know, what is happening in Karabakh now is proof of that. I mean what the terrorists are doing in Karabakh, and why peaceful settlements are being shelled 24 hours a day. And I am saying that a hundred years later Turkey returned to the South Caucasus to complete the policy of genocide against the Armenian people. At the same time, it is obvious to me that this has a specific geopolitical reason, as the South Caucasian Armenians constitute the last barrier on Turkey’s way to the north, east and southeast.
All this has to be seen in the context of the policy that Turkey is pursuing in the Mediterranean with regard to Greece, Cyprus. The same objective is pursued in Libya, Syria and Iraq – they seek to reinstate the Turkish Empire. I am convinced that this is just the task they set in the South Caucasus. I stated in my interviews to European media that if Europe and the international community fail to take the situation seriously, they will have to see in Turkey at Vienna in the not so distant future.
And to conclude with the idea that I developed in the answer to the first question, I want to say that An adequate response in this situation would be for European countries, the international community, individual nations to find strength in themselves, take a decisive step and recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.
TV5 Monde - Mr. Pashinyan, you have been seen in military uniform in the latest TV footages. Have you become a military leader now?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - You know that martial law has been declared in Armenia? During martial law, the Prime Minister of the country has certain obligations. And you should admit that it would be illogical to go to the conflict zone wearing suit and tie. Let me note that this is not a military uniform, this is civilian clothing.
TV5 Monde - You mentioned Turkey, Mr. Prime Minister. There is another big player in the region, and that is Russia, which has special relations with Armenia, but also with Azerbaijan. Vladimir Putin has so far been inaccessible to them, but he keeps in close touch with you. What did you ask the President of Russia?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - First of all, we are in constant contact with the Russian President since Russia has several roles to play here. First, Russian co-chairs in the OSCE Minsk Group, and second, Russia is bound by specific security-related commitments with Armenia. Armenia and Russia have allied relations of strategic partnership in the field of security. Russia has assumed security-related obligations towards the Republic of Armenia, and yesterday the President of the Russian Federation publicly stated that Russia will fulfill its commitments, if necessary.
TV5 Monde - As they refer to international law, Azerbaijan and its ally Turkey evoke the UN resolutions. These two countries are talking about your occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh. What is your answer?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – Yet again, we come to a situation where a lot of people are talking about the resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in 1993, but few people have really carefully read those resolutions.
The resolutions state that Azerbaijan, in violation of the international ceasefire agreement, suffered territorial losses, as a result of which Nagorno-Karabakh’s Self-Defense Forces had to protect the people living there, i.e. respond to Azerbaijan’s failure to observe the ceasefire.
Many say that Armenia is mentioned in this context, but the Security Council resolutions say nothing about Armenia’s involvement. Here, I would like to highlight again that the UN Security Council resolutions were adopted in 1993, in a specific situation and they were related to that specific situation. And since then, an international format of negotiations for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been established. I mean the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship, which is working to achieve a settlement of the conflict
TV5 Monde - Mr. Prime Minister, earlier today discussions began in Geneva within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group, in which France is involved. I should mention that in turn, Armenia is part of the International Organization of La Francophonie. We all remember that the latest Francophonie summit was held in Yerevan, Armenia. What do you expect from President Emmanuel Macron?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - First of all, on behalf of the Armenian people, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, I would like to express satisfaction with the French President’s sincere, outright and truth-based position.
To be honest, I expect the French President to recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, since I do believe that there is simply no other way to address the concerns raised by Emmanuel Macron in the current situation; because it could turn into a major humanitarian tragedy; because terrorism can spread over and infect the entire region in a broader sense. And, of course, it is a direct threat to global security, given the Turkish factor. I really expect France to directly recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.
TV5 Monde - Thank you for the interview.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - Thank you, too.