Armenia’s acting Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinian told reporters in Yerevan on Wednesday that Azerbaijan continues to create tensions at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
“Sooner or later, one day the delimitation and demarcation of our borders with all neighbors must take place, but, so to speak, grossly violating our borders and being located inside our borders, even trying to blackmail us into some action is not an efficient way, it cannot give any result. Such an approach and method of blackmail cannot be acceptable to the authorities of the Republic of Armenia and the people of the Republic of Armenia,” Avinian said.
The Armenian official said that Yerevan also finds its necessary to hold negotiations. “But the first issue to be discussed is the withdrawal of Azerbaijani troops from the territory of the Republic of Armenia,” he added.
Avinian stressed that everything must be done to resolve the issue diplomatically.
Avinian’s remarks came as a reaction to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s statement that Armenia, which suffered a military defeat in last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh, is reluctant to get down to work on a peace treaty that Baku hopes will put an end to what it views as Armenian territorial claims to Azerbaijan.
“We are ready to start such work. But there is no official reaction from Armenia. Through unofficial channels we have been receiving information that Armenia is not ready for it. I think it will be a big mistake for them,” Aliyev said on Wednesday, as quoted by Azerbaijani media.
The Azerbaijani leader’s remarks came amid a fresh incident at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in which Armenia said one of its servicemen was killed in a skirmish near Azerbaijan’s western exclave of Nakhichevan. Baku said one of its soldiers was wounded in a shootout with Armenian forces.
The two sides have blamed each other for the escalation at the border that has already been tense since May when Armenia accused Azerbaijan of advancing its troops several kilometers deep into its sovereign territory at several sections, a claim denied by Baku.
Eight months after Armenia and Azerbaijan ended a six-week war over Nagorno-Karabakh. The conflict, which claimed over 6,000 lives, ended in November 2020 with a Moscow-brokered cease-fire that saw Armenia ceding swaths of territory that ethnic Armenians had controlled for decades.
In his remarks during today’s meeting with families of Azerbaijani soldiers killed and maimed during the armed conflict, Aliyev again insisted that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been resolved and that there is no issue of the disputed region’s status anymore.
“The two sides must recognize each other’s territorial integrity, recognize the borders and get down to the work on border delimitation,” said Aliyev, stressing that international organizations hail the idea of delimitation and demarcation of the Soviet-era administrative border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Stressing that Azerbaijan speaks from the position of the victor in last year’s war, Aliyev warned: “If Armenia does not want this, it’s up to it. But Armenia should think carefully, because otherwise it will be too late.”
Reacting to this statement, Avinian said that the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh’s status is among priorities for Yerevan. “As long as the issue of the status of Artsakh [the Armenian name for Nagorno-Karabakh] is not finally resolved and the talks within the OSCE Minsk Group are not resumed, I think it will be difficult to talk about other solutions and other approaches. We attach great importance to the negotiation process, as well as to certain positive changes that exist in the negotiation process on unblocking [transport links], but all final solutions, peace agreements, treaties, border delimitation and demarcation contain certain snags, and the first most important issue is the status of Artsakh and the people of Artsakh,” Armenia’s acting deputy prime minister said.