“One of my tasks as the Czech ambassador will be to prove and to show my counterparts and friends that we, as Europe and the Czech Republic, haven’t abandoned Armenia,” the diplomat, Petr Piruncik, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service in a weekend interview.
“There are some politicians in your country that are using this situation for their own benefits,” he said. “They are speaking about ‘Europe leaving us, we are alone and we don’t have anyone to rely on.’ That’s not true.”
“It doesn’t mean that we are going to save you,” he went on. “That’s what you need to understand and what I want to emphasize. We are not going to save you, you know. But we are going to do our best to help you get over this mess.”
Piruncik referred to fallout from Armenia’s continuing conflict with Azerbaijan. Echoing EU statements, he expressed serious concern over Baku’s closure on December 12 of the sole road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.
The road was blocked by groups of Azerbaijanis demanding that their government be allowed to inspect “illegal” mining operations in Karabakh and assess their environmental impact. Baku backs their demands while denying responsibility for the road blockade.
“It looks a bit silly,” Piruncik said of the official Azerbaijani explanations of the blockade. He likened Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian population to “hostages.”
The Czech envoy also said that Russia, which has peacekeeping troops stationed in Karabakh, is primarily responsible for the safe functioning of the Lachin corridor under the terms of the Russian-brokered agreement that stopped the 2020 Armenian-Azerbaijani war.
“The main side to ask what is going on and what is going to happen, what are you going to do is Russia because they have agreed that they will make sure that the corridor is open and the peace is kept,” he said.