During a questions and answer session following his remarks at the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe on Wednesday, President Serzh Sarkisian blasted a member of the Azerbaijani delegation for distorting the truth surrounding events in Khojaly at the height of the Karabakh war in the 1990’s.
For decades, Azerbaijan has mounted a campaign to bill the events at Khojaly as “genocide,” blaming Armenians of committing that act.
On Wednesday, during the PACE session, Samad Seyidov, a member of the Azerbaijan delegation, attacked Sarkisian for failing to mention the so-called “Khojaly genocide,” to which Sarkisian responded by first urging the Azerbaijani representative to “calm down.”
“I was a participant in the just struggle of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. Why did I not mention the incidents in Khojalu, that you call a genocide? It was for the simple reason that immediately after those painful events, Ayaz Mutallibov, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, stated in great detail and an informed way, facts that clearly showed who actually organized and carried out those massacres,” explained Sarkisian.
“It is unfortunate. Genocide is not a good thing. Carrying out or suffering a genocide is not an honor; it is a suffering. I think there is a trend in Azerbaijan to want whatever the Armenians have had. This is impermissible. Why do you need to call something that never occurred and was never carried out by the Armenians a ‘genocide’?” added Sarkisian.
Seyidov went on to ask about so-called United Nations resolutions, which allegedly Armenia has violated—another talking point that Azerbaijan uses to distort the truth.
“There is no international organization that would have adopted a decision that would have been rejected by Armenia. You tried to recall the United Nations Security Council resolutions. My advice to you, when you go into a topic, you had better study it. The world knows that the United Nations Security Council has never discussed the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. In 1993, the United Nations Security Council adopted four resolutions on stopping hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh area. After each resolution, Azerbaijan said it would not stop the fighting. It attempted new offensives and attacks, but as usual it suffered losses. In those four resolutions, the only commitment of Armenia was to use its reputation, authority and influence to get the hostilities to stop. To the credit of the then Government of Armenia, we honored this one commitment. Azerbaijan – the number one responsible for the hostilities – failed to stop the fighting,” explained Sarkisian.
“As you know, in 1994, the cease-fire agreement was signed, but it was signed under the influence of other factors, not the United Nations Security Council resolution. Unfortunately, the provisions of that cease-fire agreement are not being honoured. The agreement clearly states that the hostilities need to stop, and for a political solution, an extensive process of talks must be launched. As your own words clearly illustrate, you want the most in this process of negotiation – you want what is impossible. You want to return Karabakh to Azerbaijan,” said Sarkisian.
“Unfortunately, xenophobia in Azerbaijan has got to the point that you are explicitly saying that you need Karabakh, but without the Armenians. That is impossible. It is never going to happen.
“The essence of the struggle of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh is very simple. It is a struggle for liberty, a struggle self-determination, and I am sure that that struggle cannot have anything but a positive outcome,” added the president.