The Karabakh conflict has longer history than 30 years, former Armenia president Serzh Sargsyan said in an interview with Russia’s Izvestiye newspaper.
“In fact, there has been an active phase of the problem for thirty years already, but it existed before. During 25 years out of 30, the OSCE Minsk Group has been acting as a mediator. In 1994, with the mediation of Russia, a trilateral unlimited ceasefire agreement was signed. Unfortunately, starting from 2014, ceasefire regime is violated by Azerbaijan almost every day,” said Sargsyan who is nominated for the post of a prime minister.
“After failing the talks, Azerbaijani side in April 2016 violated its obligations under the agreement and launched a large-scale aggression against the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic with a large number of aircraft, armored vehicles, large-caliber artillery, missile systems, flamethrower systems, by the way, most of them purchased from Russia,” he said.
The Azerbaijani side failed to solve any crucial task, and on the fifth day of hostilities they agreed to meet under mediation of the Russian side to renew the terms of previously signed agreements. The meeting was followed by a number of summits during which the parties agreed to establish investigation mechanisms and expand the office of the personal representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.
“However, each time returning to Baku, Azerbaijani side refused from implementing the agreements,” he added.
Back in 2007 the Minsk Group offered to solve the issue based on the three principles: non-use of force or threat of force, self-determination of people and territorial integrity.
“We believe that this is a balanced compromise. This is not what we were dreaming about. This is not the best option for us, but realizing that the issue can be resolved only on the basis of compromise, we agreed to negotiations. And, it seemed, in 2011 in Kazan we were close to signing. But, Baku put forward additional demands, and the signing did not take place,” he said.
According to Sargsyan, Azerbaijan has an illusion that compromise can be reached only by Armenia and Artsakh.
“But, here we need a counter-compromise. Azerbaijanis still hope for a forceful solution to the problem. The history showed that in the early 90s, and in 2016, it was impossible. There will be great losses, victims, but the situation will not change. Anyway, sooner or later we must come to a decision. The earlier, the better,” Sargsyan said.
He emphasized that the future of Karabakh is a free life. The fact that it is a small country, is not the reason to ban their people from living in a free country.
“Of course, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs - Russia, the United States and France - are doing a lot to solve the dispute. Five statements at the level of presidents were made, and they all say that the issue can only be resolved based on three principles. You cannot separate these principles, and this is very important,” Sargsyan concluded.