By Atom Markarian
President Robert Kocharian dismissed on Thursday Azerbaijan’s latest threats to win back control of Nagorno-Karabakh by force, warning that Baku will face another humiliating defeat if it resumes hostilities.
Azerbaijan’s President Heydar Aliev reiterated on Tuesday that he will order military action to restore Azerbaijani sovereignty over the Armenian-controlled region unless international mediators secure more concessions from the Armenian side. Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian, reacting to Aliev’s statement the next day, said renewed fighting in and around Karabakh “would mark the beginning of Azerbaijan’s last defeat.”
Kocharian fully endorsed the remarks made by his most trusted and powerful associate. “The defense minister yesterday delivered his response to journalists,” he said. “That response was agreed with me beforehand. So consider my reaction [to Aliev’s threats] to be the same as his,” he told reporters.
Kocharian and Sarkisian led Karabakh during the Armenian-Azerbaijani war which was stopped by a Russian-mediated truce in May 1994, leaving the Armenians in control of the enclave and surrounding territories in Azerbaijan proper.
Aliev on Tuesday again criticized the Russian, French and US mediators, saying that their most recent peace proposals fail to uphold Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.