DM Says Azerbaijan Would Sustain Huge Defeat in War Calls for ?Painful? Compromise Solution

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Addressing parliamentary hearings on resolving the Mountainous Karabagh conflict–Armenian Defense Minister Serge Sargsian said he has no doubts that the long-standing dispute can be solved only through peaceful means–based on mutual compromises.

He cautioned–however–that if Azerbaijan resumes hostilities in an effort to take Mountainous Karabagh back–it would "sustain a heavy defeat."

"The price we might pay for it would depend on how strongly the Armenian people and political forces back the army. If–God forbid–the situation in Armenia resembles that of Azerbaijan of 1992-1994–we may face a catastrophe," he said. He also added that he did not rule out the possibility of resumption of war.

"I did not deny such a possibility in 1995–1998–and in 2000–and I do not deny it now. There is always the threat of a new war and there are no guarantees against it," he said.

Sargsian went on to argue that the regulation process would be painful for both nations–as only a compromised solution is possible.

"Compromise means that you have to give in part of what you have–which is always a painful process. The compromise solution must be first of all backed by Armenia’s and not only by the political elite," he said.

Sargsian outlined acceptable compromises that include the implementation of Council of Europe Resolution 1416–another referendum of independence in Karabagh–and a return of seized lands. "We could make concessions on the condition that Azeri side gives clear guarantees of non-resumption of military actions which must be confirmed by authoritative international organizations and states," he said.

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