Armenia Will Recognize Karabakh If Azerbaijan Resorts to Aggression, Says Sarkisian

President Serzh Sarkisian addresses Astana summit

ASTANA—In addressing the OSCE summit Thursday in the capital of Kazkhstan, President Serzh Sarkisian said in the event that Azerbaijan resorts to military aggression, Armenia will formally recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as an independent state.

Below is the text of the speech:

President Nazarbayev,
Madam Chairperson,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

This meeting of the Heads of States participating in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is, in a way, unique: This the first summit of the OSCE in the 21st century and the first to be held in the post-Soviet area. I would like to congratulate the Kazakhstani partners and personally President Nursultan Nazarbayev for the active chairmanship and excellent organization of the Summit.

Peoples living in the OSCE region have been following with hope and anticipation for holistic implementation of the principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act. The people of Nagorno Karabakh are one of them, entitled to expect the implementation of these principles and commitments, which are universal regardless of size of a country, its population, or natural resources. Nagorno Karabakh proclaimed its independence in September 1991, followed by the Referendum on independence conducted in December in full compliance with the norms of international law, as well as the Soviet legislation which was in effect at the time. With the subsequent disintegration of the USSR, two legally equal state entities emerged: the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.

In response to the policy of ethnic cleansing and full-fledged military aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan in 1992 against Karabakh, the unrecognized, yet legitimate state of Nagorno Karabakh, in the face of imminent extinction of its people, was forced to resort to its right to self-defense in full compliance with the norms of international law. Failing to purge Nagorno Karabakh of its Armenian population by military action, in May of 1994 Azerbaijan was compelled to sign the tripartite ceasefire Agreement with Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia. That ceasefire could have become a basis for establishing durable peace in the interests of the people of the region.

The subsequent 16 years have been used by Azerbaijan, under the guise of negotiations and contrary to the efforts of the Minsk Group, to make preparations for a new military adventure. In Baku they believe that the cause-and-effect relationship behind the Karabakh conflict has been forgotten. By evoking today the need to reclaim territories currently under the control of the Nagorno Karabakh Self-Defense Army, Azerbaijan fails to acknowledge that it is impossible to eliminate the consequences of aggression without addressing the root cause of the conflict.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

To my knowledge Azerbaijan is the only country on the European continent that boasts the manifold increase of its military spending. However, no necessary actions are taken with regard to Azerbaijan flagrantly exceeding the maximal levels on possession of treaty-limited materiel set by the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe; moreover, such offensive materiel is being sold to it, including by states participating in the OSCE. All this is accompanied by blatant Armenophobic statements by Azerbaijani leaders, by calls that incite animosity, aggression and violence. It has reached the point where Azerbaijani officials never miss a chance to claim that the capital of Armenia, Yerevan, is located (quote) “on historical Azeri lands” (end of quote). Recently at UNESCO they challenged the intellectual rights to the Khachkar, the stone-cross masterpiece of Armenian Christian art, insisting that the Khachkar is nothing else but an example of Azeri art. If that were to be the case, one may only wonder what was the rationale, just five years ago, behind the barbaric destruction of one of the greatest-ever monuments of that art, the medieval Armenian cemetery in Juga with thousands of Khachkars, and the construction in its place of a military firing-range. Incidentally, this became the present day epitome of a long-standing and persistent policy of total eradication of Armenian cultural heritage in Nakhijevan, a region that enjoys the highest degree of autonomy within Azerbaijan.

Distinguished colleagues,
The attempts of Azerbaijan to extort unilateral concessions through the threat of the use of force are doomed to fail upfront; they continue to remain the major impediment on the way to compromise and the settlement of this problem. And within the last week I was once again assured that Azerbaijan at this stage has no interest in the resolution of the Karabakh problem. Its sole objective is to inflict as much damage as possible on

Armenia categorically refuses to accept the resumption of military hostilities in Nagorno Karabakh as an option. In case Azerbaijan resorts to military aggression, Armenia would not have any other choice but to recognize the Nagorno Karabakh Republic de jure and to invest all its capabilities into ensuring the security of the people of Artsakh.

Nagorno Karabakh has no future within Azerbaijan and, whatever the solution, it should emanate from the will of the people of Karabakh. This is the axis of the right of people to self-determination. Azerbaijan has neither legal, nor political, nor moral grounds for its claims over Nagorno Karabakh.

Distinguished Colleagues,

This OSCE Summit is of paramount importance for the future activities of the Organization. I would like to underline the great contribution of Kazakhstan, the country holding OSCE Chairmanship, to the Organization of this long-expected meeting, and thank the hosts for their warm hospitality.


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  1. Gary said:

    there never has an azeribaijan before 1918. It only became a part of azeribaijan after turkey threatened stalin.

  2. Sarkis said:

    Thank you Mr. President and thank you Armenian Diaspora for always being there and standing en garde for our cause. Together we can be a greater force to be reckoned with.

  3. Seervart said:

    Yes, finally President Sarkisian is using some kind of manhood power. Armenia must recognize Artsakh as soon as possible. It is the only way; but the wordings of Sarkisian’s speech is excellent. I am impressed by Mr. Sarkisian’s speech.

    Yes Gary, you are absolutely right!!!! There never was a country called Azerbaijan 100 years ago. (Formerly known Nagorno Karabakh) our Artsakh and our Nakhichevan was given away to the newly formed country Azerbaijan in the form of a gift by Stalin, as he wished to appease Kemal Ataturk.

  4. Aram said:

    Finally, Armenia decides to recognize Artsakh in case of military attack from Azerbaijan.
    Bravo Mr President !

  5. Arto T. said:

    Funny, I have been reading comments on this and other sites about this speech. Suddenly everyone that was calling Sarkisian a traitor, a turkophile, and a sellout a few months ago are now calling him a hero. IMO he is a smart man with a long-term strategy—name calling and hanging him in effigy in LA and Paris was the work of people with the mental capacity of a two year old.

    • Seervart said:

      Arto T,

      Do you at all comprehend that the protocols were absolutely against all our sacred causes? 1) Give away all of Western Armenian lands, regardless of the legallity of Wilson Arbitration Award and Sevres Treaty, 2) After 30 years of the extensive hard work of the highly educated and the dedicated Genocide exploration team, the Armenian Republic was to let Turkey to have another very BIASED Turkish team to takeover to work on the veracity of the Armenian Genocide that cannot and could not be played around with the truthfulness of the Armenian Genocide that for over 95 years it has been denied, put under the rug, mummed, that even to this day the Armenian people dispersed all around the world have’nt had closure yet, 3) (Formerly known Nagorno-Karapak) Artsakh’s independence was in great jeopardy after thousands and thousands of our brave men of arms have given their sweet lives for it. All of these frightening facts for WHAT???? To open the boarders with Turkey’s blockade, when in-fact it was Turkey who closed it illegally for 18 years; and because of it Turkey owes Armenia a great deal of money for closing their boards with their neighbours, Armenia. Thus the protocols if it was to be signed by Armenia, it would have been THE DEATH of Armenia’s sovereignty, of Artsakh’s independence and sovereignty and the end of the rights to their own homelands to the heirs of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide (US IN DIASPORA). If all these facts were not extremely upsetting and frightening situations for all the patriotic Armenians in Diaspora who yelled and screamed against it from the top of their voices both in Paris and in Los Angeles or elsewhere too, I don’t know what else could have been. Diaspora was not informed any more than what the media was telling. Let’s not forget in the past with Levon Ter Petrossian’s unpatriotic acts that to open the boarders with Turkey, he wished to give our Artsakh to the Azeris on a silver platter, just like that. Armenians in Diaspora felt terribly betrayed, frightened and helpless.

      • Arto T. said:

        Even if one disagrees with the Protocols that doesn’t give anyone the right to insult our President in public with effigies and slanderous statements. What makes you think he is less patriotic then you? What makes you think you know better than the RA government what’s best for Armenia? That’s the problem. The Diaspora thinks they are the only one’s standing in the way of the crooked Hayastantsis from selling out the country. Then you wonder why they don’t listen to you.

        Sarkisian was called every name in the book. It showed an immaturity and selfishness on the part of the Diaspora. In reality the RA played the Protocol hand very well. It ended with the Turks looking very bad and showed how deceitful they are. Armenia came away clear winners on this issue.

      • Perouz said:

        Seervart – You are absolutely right in your reply to Arto. Thank you for saying it like it is and not living in some blind-folded dream world.

        • Seervart said:

          Thank you Perouz jan, I can’t imagine how terribly frightened I was that my blood pressure went high and I personally spent for months feeling very ill at ease and having blood shot eyes. And I am sure that I wasn’t alone when I was reading the tabloids both in Paris and in LA area. Just about the time that the protocols were to be signed my mother was dying and I was dying inside double-fold; my beloved mother’s parting from this earth and my beloved Armenia and Artsakh being in harms way. I spent days, months and months feeling terribly sad, teary eyed, for both my mother and my country having been betrayed and angry at him and Nalbandyan whom I still think that doesn’t have as much political maturity and needs to demonstrate much more guts than he has in the past.

    • Sarkis said:

      What people here are saying here is that the Diaspora played an important role to bring us where we are today. The spontaneous uprisings in LA, Paris and Beirut were major; the Diaspora delivered a clear “NO” message to the proposed ill-fated protocols, and I think the President got the message. I don’t think people have changed their minds because one good speech, which proved one thing; the President is listening and finally narrowing the gap with the Diaspora.

      I personally liked the speech, specially the part where Azeris pretended that Khachkars belonged to their own national heritage and yet destroying an entire site in Nakhitchevan. That was well said. However, I would have wished the speech was delivered with much more vigor, more passion, with some dramatic pauses, and not just “read” on the same tone, without memorizing even a few lines or without trying to make eye contact with the audience.

  6. Karnig said:

    Dear Mr.President Sarkisyan
    I congratulate you for the stance that you are taking I urge you to go further more and ANNEXE KARABAKH as a province of Armenia and unite the whole region as part of Armenia, If Israel can do it and did it with Jerusalem in 1967 and to date no one has been able to touch them so can Armenia.

  7. facts said:

    EU and Russia will soon meet… Apparently EU and Russia are going to discuss Arstakh too, which is not a good sign , given the fact that some forces and politicians in EU,- such as the foreign Minster of Sweden or politicians form Baltic states or GB …- do hate Russia. Beside this the authorities in Baku have “bought” a couple of ex politicians ( even form Germany) and caring out plenty of work against Armenia including curing out dirty propaganda …!

    Arstakh, and Armenian organisation should demand from EU to not ignore Arstakh and make it a article of trade ….!

  8. eddy said:

    RoA has agreed to “road maps” or documents which if in case of implementation NK would be turned NKR into a second Balkan of 90´s (civil war ) and more.. Important elements of so called “Madrid principles” would head NKR to the situation back in 80´s !

    • Seervart said:

      What are you saying Eddy? That the “Madrid principles” mustn’t be implemented by RoA’s “road maps” or else?

  9. Stepan said:

    A very well balanced address by Sarkisian. Clearly articulating the absurd and destructive behavior of Azerbaijan; yet protraying Armenian as a willing partner for peace. Recognizing Karabagh allows Armenia to take a ” we have no choice but to defend our people” … moral high ground verses the militaristic rhetoric of Azerbaijan. We all know that these matters are decided outside of speeches, but it showed the civilized and partnering approach of Armenia and should inspire Armenians to unify.

  10. Fred said:

    We must continue and even strengthen our efforts to improve and grow the infrustructure of both Artsakh and Armenia from Diaspora. We must unite and show a united and solid face against Azerbayjan and Turkey. They must realise that by their actions they are only strengthening Armenia.

  11. ed said:

    Azerbaijani president did refuse to meet Russian and Armenia president
    Was it a signal to Turkey “Sorry, I love you still – AKP is not naive” ? Maybe he wanted to “apologize” to Erdogan &Co for cheating Turkey ..?
    I would say either Azerbaijani president has given up so called 20% “occupied territories” or he has chosen a more childish approach and the path to blackmailing international community

    Dashnaks are saying: “in case of war RoA should declare re-unification of Arstakh with RoA
    President and his coaalation says: in case of war RoA will recognize Arstakh-
    No surprise, when some politicians from Baku are misiterparting the declartionsigned in Astana differently and are speaking once again of “autonomy or hights self-reul etc ”
    People, common Arstakh is not a no man’s land..

    RoA should recognize Arstakh at least formal! I wish president would had announced..” in case of threat of war and refusal of Azerbaijan for a “compromise” acceptable for Arstakh people, Armenia and Arstakh will regard the current frontier as final border according to three party cease fire signed in 1994 ! ..

  12. sako said:

    armenia’s borders are on Caspian sea let Azerbajan stop selling armenian oil

    • Seervart said:

      You are actually quite right!! In the past, it was all of the Armenian businessmen who had the control over all of Baku’s “naft” oil. Besides, that part of the land has been Armenian soil through our long, successful and brave history!! You are very right my friend!!!!

      • Arn,Sweden. said:

        WELL –






  13. Arn.Sweden. said:





    Arn. Sweden.

  14. Chris Manougian said:

    The Armenian Government together with Artsax Government know what are they doing ,for the sake of the its People .
    The most important is the Unity of the people ,together decide what is good for us .