Oskanian Says Armenia Determined to Defend Karabakh Self Determination

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–In the event that Azerbaijan attempts to settle the Karabakh issue by force, Armenia will use every opportunity to secure the right to self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian told a the Polish Rzeczpospolita Newspaper on Tuesday.
"Our position is clear," Oskanian said. "Everything depends on Azerbaijan."
Armenia will protect the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic if it becomes evident that Azerbaijan seeks a resolution through force rather than compromise, he added.
"Armenia will never start a war, we stand for negotiations," he averred. "But Azerbaijan has other intentions and is trying to block the peace process."
If a war breaks out, Azerbaijan will not win. The conflict cannot be solved militarily, he explained.
Azerbaijan has failed on two separate occasions to take Karabakh by force, he said. If they try again, they will fail and it will be their last attempt, he added.
The foreign minister also discussed during his interview, Armenia’s relations with Russia.
Armenia’s close political alliance with Russia helps reinforce the security of the Republic of Armenia, he explained.
"There are many Russian investmen’s in our country, especially in the field of energy, which is understandable, since Russia’supplies gas and fuel for the nuclear power plant," he explained.
Oskanian noted, however, that many other countries also invest in Armenia. The Yerevan Airport is managed by an American-Argentinean consortium; the largest mines are exploited by companies from Germany, Canada and Great Britain; the post services are run by the Dutch; and the water supply is maintained by a French company, he explained.
In other news, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tigran Balayan dismissed Tuesday allegations by four former officials that they had been illegally fired from the ministry in late February.
Four Armenian diplomats who were fired in late February filed a lawsuit against the Foreign Ministry on Monday, saying that their sacking was in violation of labor laws and must be overturned.
The four plaintiffs are the former Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Karapetian, Martha Ayvazian, the former head of the ministry’s NATO desk, Karine Afrikian, the former head of the U.S. and Canada desk, and Arakel Semirjian, a counselor at the Europe desk.
They were among six foreign ministry officials who expressed their `outrage’ at serious fraud which they said prevented the February 19 vote from being `civilized, free and fair.’
All ten diplomats were sacked for violating an Armenian law that bars diplomats from engaging in political activities.
The four appealed to Armenia’s Administrative Court to reinstate them. But Balayan said Minister Oskanian had consulted with lawyers before dismissing them.
The ministry has yet to receive any notification form the Administrative Court, he said.


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