President Serzh Sarkisian warned Azerbaijan on Wednesday against attempting to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by force, saying that Baku would suffer another defeat on the battlefield.
He issued the warning in Strasbourg after an Azerbaijani member of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) accused Armenia of occupying 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory.
“You should not start hostilities and then complain about occupation,” retorted Sarkisian. “Azerbaijan is now threatening us with hostilities. I believe that if such military action is taken, several months later the Azerbaijanis will complain not about 20 percent but 25-30 percent.”
Sarkisian, who was a top Karabakh Armenian military commander during the 1991-1994 Armenian-Azerbaijani war, has similarly warned in the past that Baku will be dealt a “final and devastating” blow if acts on its regular threats to win back the disputed territory.
Over the past decade, oil-rich Azerbaijan has spent billions of dollars on a massive military buildup which it hopes will tilt the military balance in its favor. President Ilham Aliyev said in June that his country will continue buying offensive weapons to force the Armenians to give up control over Karabakh and surrounding territories.
Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev reiterated those threats on Wednesday. “If Armenia does not abandon its aggressive policy soon, the Azerbaijani army will have to accomplish its task of liberating the occupied territories,” he told Greece’s ambassador in Baku, according to the APA news agency.