Sahakian Rules Out Karabakh Under Azeri Control

Karabakh President Bako Sahakian

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian on Friday said the war with Azerbaijan is unlikely to resume soon and again ruled out any peaceful settlement that would place Karabakh back under Azerbaijani control.

“The likelihood of large-scale hostilities is small,” Sahakian told the Russian Interfax news agency in an interview. “First of all, there is a very effective balance of forces existing between the conflicting parties.”

“Secondly, war is fraught with unpredictable consequences. The international community and, in particular, the mediating countries are hardly interested in instability in a strategically important region like the South Caucasus,” he said.

Tensions along the main Armenian-Azerbaijani line of contact have risen since a June 18-19 firefight in northeastern Karabakh that left four Armenian soldiers dead. The incident was followed by fresh Azerbaijani threats to resolve the conflict by force.

“Such [ceasefire] violations can not change the existing balance of forces or undermine the spirit of our people and its army,” said Sahakian. Karabakh Armenian forces are capable of not only repelling an Azerbaijani offensive but also “taking hostilities deep into the enemy’s territory,” he added.

In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, the U.S., Russian and French mediators co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group urged the conflicting parties to “reinforce the ceasefire and demonstrate a spirit of compromise.” They also confirmed that the parties failed to overcome their differences over the conflict’s resolution during recent negotiations.

Sahakian scoffed at Azerbaijani statements that Baku is only prepared to give Karabakh a high degree of autonomy. “We already had that autonomy during 70 years of Soviet rule and we all know how it ended,” he said. “A broad or any other autonomy within Azerbaijan is out of the question. The conflict with Azerbaijan can only be resolved through a formal international recognition of the independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.”

The Karabakh leader also insisted that the recent ruling by the International Court of Justice upholding the legality of Kosovo’s secession from Serbia is also applicable to the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute.


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  1. Alec Baghdasaryan said:

    Love it… this is what is all about… we can not only defend our land but are capable of showing Azeris one more time that they will be defeated by taking over even more territory.

  2. Norin Radd said:

    That’s not just President Bako Sahakian talking, 8 million Armenians worldwide are behind President Sahakian. The Armenian people worldwide are ready to take this conflict to any length the Azeri would like to push it too, this won’t bode well for the Azeris or those that support them, the world can count on that.

  3. Areg Minasyan said:

    Bravo Mr. president Sahakian. The entire Armenian Nation is behind you. Not a centimeter of liberated Armenian lands to barbarian genocidal Azeri-Turks. Long live free and independent Republic of Artsakh and
    bravo to brave Artsakh soldiers. The truth is in our side and all we need is to defend it with our strength.
    Kettseh Artsakhe…

  4. Ed said:

    In this conflict what we Armenians think is irrelevant – what is important is what we do…

  5. john papazian said:

    As long as Russia,Turkey,and the US are happy to sit on the side lines the Azeri tribe will talk a big game but from news accounts I don’t think they are willing to go it alone.