Sargsyan continuing to think as terrorist

By: Sara Rajabova

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s recent statements after the Sochi meeting come in stark contradiction with his earlier statements claiming that Armenia wants a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Upon his return from the trilateral meeting in the Russian Black Sea resort town, Sargsyan reiterated his country’s readiness to ruin Azerbaijan. Sargsyan said he is ready to “turn any Azerbaijani city into another Aghdam.” The Armenian president was referring to Azerbaijan’s Aghdam region that was occupied by Armenian armed forces on July 23, 1993 and turned into a ghost town after it was destroyed.

Commenting on Sargsyan`s statements, Israeli international relations expert Arye Gut told AzerTag news agency that, “Sargsyan continues to think as a terrorist.”

Gut noted that the Armenian president’s rhetoric demonstrates that the current leader of Armenia is only after keeping and consolidating his own power. He said that the Armenian president tends to look after his own interests, and those of his clan, rather than promoting what is in the best interest of this country.

Sargsyan has distorted some aspects of the talks upon return to Armenia.

“It is clear that Sargsyan`s hypocrisy has no limits. Sargsyan wants to look constructive and tolerant but he fails to do so,” the expert said.

Gut said Armenia is suffering from a geopolitical fiasco. Armenia was left out of major geopolitical and geo-economic projects related to the oil and gas resources of the Caspian Sea.

The economic situation in the country is not heartwarming. People are fleeing the country because of the difficult social and economic situation. The expert stressed that the occupation of the Azerbaijani lands and historical claims of Armenia against Turkey has led to the financial collapse and isolation of the country.

“The status quo in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh is beneficial for the Karabakh clan. The political elite of Armenia use the conflict to advance their own interests. Armenia’s aggressive approach towards the conflict resolution is forcing Azerbaijan to resort to other means. The fact that the Azerbaijani diplomacy is still engaged in peace talks testifies that hopes are still alive although they are slim,” Gut said.

Armenia occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, after laying territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor that caused a brutal war in the early 1990s.

Gut further noted that the Armenian president`s aggressive rhetoric does not impress Azerbaijan at all as the country has changed a lot since early 90s. “Today Azerbaijan is a completely different nation with strong geopolitical and military potential in the region. There is a huge difference in economic and military development between the two countries.”

He said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said as a true diplomat and statesman that a negotiated solution to the conflict based on international law and justice would be found.

Recently, tensions along the frontline were aggravated as Armenian armed forces attacked Azerbaijani positions. Armenia began to escalate tensions on the border areas on July 31. Sporadic fighting has continued ever since. Fourteen Azerbaijani servicemen were killed and several others injured during the clashes between two sides. Armenia hasn’t released yet the exact number of its casualties.

Gut noted that Yerevan seeks to conceal the true casualty figures as it could stir up protests in Armenia.

The expert further added that the ruling clan of Sargsyan is unable to solve the humanitarian issues including those related to hostages and dead bodies of soldiers.

4,015 Azerbaijani citizens are still missing as a result of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s. Azerbaijan has been able to provide international organizations with a wide variety of information of about 877 Azerbaijani citizens who are still missing, as well as, 56 children, 327 women and 364 elderly people.

Armenia has yet to provide information about some 877 Azerbaijanis still held captive.

Gut said the Armenians have systematically and categorically denied holding the Azerbaijanis, though the representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross say they have met some people in the list. Some of these people died in captivity due to illness, and others were brutally killed, while some of them have been forced to work in hard jobs as a slave so far.

“After all these facts, the Armenian president shamelessly speaks about humanism,” Gut said.

As a result of the military aggression by Armenia, over 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed, more than 4,000 are reported missing and almost 100,000 were injured, and 50,000 were disabled.

Long-standing efforts by U.S, Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far.

The UN Security Council has passed four resolutions calling for Armenia to withdrawal from Azerbaijani territory, but the resolutions have not been enforced to this day.