YEREVAN—Karabakh must become a full fledged part of the peace talks and the mediators must at least secure that as a mechanism for Azerbaijan to show restraint in its action, said Armenian Revolutionary Federation political affairs director Giro Manoyan during press briefing Monday.
Manoyan said that if the peace talks continue in their current format, not much progress can be anticipated.
He called for the imperative of change in foreign policy, especially taking into consideration the latest violation of the cease-fire by Azerbaijan ahead of the meeting between the Armenian and Azeri foreign ministers.
Manoyan also called into question whether the talks should have proceeded after the Azeris’ two-pronged attack last week, as a result of which junior sergeant Armen Hovhannesyan was killed in the line of duty.
The mediators should have announced, said Manoyan, that “Azerbaijan’s behavior before the scheduled meeting in Paris, prevents us from participating in the talks.”
Manoyan expressed frustration at the Minsk Group co-chairmen for not presenting an honest assessment of the situation and “not hide behind the fake parity.”
“I don’t believe that the Armenian side will ever refuse to go to the talks because it wants to be perceived as ‘good,’ especially by the West. But, it is imperative to show the West that their ‘parity’ makes them an accomplice in Azerbaijan’s policies. Because of this they [the co-chairmen] must secure Karabakh’s participation in the talks,” said Manoyan.
Manoyan warned that the current situation on the border could lead to war, adding that while Azerbaijan may not want to go to war, its provocations could steer the situation in that direction.
He also urged a realignment of Armenia’s foreign policy and called for an active pursuit of the international recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic by Armenia’s diplomats.
Manoyan was also asked about Armenia’s absence from the “Geneva 2” Syrian peace summit. He said that while Armenia was not invited to take part in the Syria talks, Armenia should be vigilantly pursuing the issue of national minorities in Syria, with the concerns of the Armenian community there topping the list.
“It would have been great if Armenia participated in the summit as an interested party. If that hasn’t happened, we must, at least, follow up to ensure that Syrian national minorities, especially Armenians, are always on the forefront of discussions in such talks,” said Manoyan.