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Pashinyan Calls Armenians To Take Up Arms, Dismissing Diplomatic Efforts To Resolve Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

By Mushvig Mehdiyev October 24, 2020

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A soldier hangs Azerbaijan's flag over ruined spring in the city of Jabrayil liberated from Armenia's occupation, October 16, 2020 / AFP Photo

Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan made his position clear on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and indicated that his government would aim to resolve the decades-long conflict with Azerbaijan through military means instead of using diplomacy to find a lasting solution.

In a live public address on his Facebook page on Wednesday, Pashinyan called on the Armenian people to resort to arms as he claimed diplomacy is dead in the water.

“We must realize that the Karabakh issue, at least at this stage and starting from this stage for a very long time, cannot have a diplomatic solution. All such proposals should be considered completed," he said, adding an acceptable solution to the conflict can be achieved with arms in hand, according to RBC.

Pashinyan emphasized that Armenian people should take up arms and fight until the end.

"With the effective organization of this process, we will be able to reach an acceptable diplomatic solution for us," Pashinyan added.

Shortly after the online address, he published a post to call on the Armenian people to form volunteer squads, choose a commander, undertake preparation, and finally go to the frontline. According to unofficial sources, a volunteer squad led by Yerevan's mayor Aik Marutyan has already been created in the Armenian capital.

Pashinyan's contradictory call for war followed his recent appeal for a meeting with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev for negotiating a peaceful end to the conflict. "The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be resolved exclusively by peaceful means. And I am ready to make all the necessary efforts to achieve such a result, including going, meeting, talking, ”Pashinyan said in an interview with TASS on Monday.

Earlier, the Armenian PM rejected negotiating the conflict's political settlement under internationally recognized conditions. He has repeatedly demanded recognition of the right of the Armenian community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region to self-determination and the independence of illegal separatist regime, which has been repeatedly turned down by the government of Azerbaijan. For Armenia, he says, this is a "red line" and a primary condition for restoring peace.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said the Azerbaijani side is ready to meet with Armenia's officials to end the confrontation and work towards a settlement. President Aliyev said Azerbaijan is committed to the principles of regulation developed in a long-term negotiation process.

"However, the statements we have been hearing from Yerevan completely contradict the fundamental principles developed by the OSCE Minsk Group. The Armenian leadership has recently made very dangerous statements that effectively refute the fundamental principles. In principle, all the activities of Armenia’s new leadership are aimed at disrupting the process of negotiations," President Aliyev noted.

Armenia's government has refused to comply with Madrid Principles - a compilation of fundamental guidelines for resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as well as four UN Security Council resolutions, which recognize the Karabakh region as part of Azerbaijan. PM Pashinyan has recently said Yerevan considers it necessary to recognize the sovereignty of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani government has expressed its readiness to secure peaceful coexistence of the Armenian community and the Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

"We see Karabakh as a prosperous, safe, secure area of Azerbaijan where people live in peace and dignity, where Azerbaijani and Armenian communities live side by side," President Aliyev said. "We can provide much better life, for Armenians who live there, for Azerbaijanis who will return there."

Armenia's occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts in 1991-1994 was accompanied by brutal ethnic cleansing that resulted in the expulsion of one million Azerbaijanis from their homes.

Hikmat Hajiyev, a senior aide to the Azerbaijani president, said PM Pashinyan's downplaying the diplomacy demonstrates disinterest of Yerevan with the peaceful resolution of the conflict.

"Armenian Prime Minister recklessly encourages government's all civil bodies and civilians to totally take up arms and participate in military operations for the sake of his political ambitions," Hajiyev said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The ongoing escalation of hostilities between the troops of Armenia and Azerbaijan broke out on September 27 following Armenia's shelling the Azerbaijani positions and civilian settlements. Azerbaijani forces launched immediate counter-attack operations to repel the offensive. The clashes have further escalated with the deployment of heavy artillery on the frontline by both sides. Military operations are being conducted in the territory of Azerbaijan. As of October 24, Azerbaijani army has liberated 3 out of 7 occupied cities around the Nagorno-Karabakh region, including Fuzuli, Jabrayil, and Zangilan, as well as dozens of villages in Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Zangilan, Khojavand and Tartar districts.