ASTANA, Kazakhstan (RFE/RL) — Armenia threatened on Thursday to formally recognize Nagorno- Karabagh as an independent state if Azerbaijan tries to win back the disputed enclave and other Armenian-controlled territories surrounding it by force.
President Serge Sargisian issued the warning as he hit back at his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, during the summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Addressing the summit on Wednesday, Aliyev said Armenia is dragging out the Karabagh negotiating process mediated by the United States, Russia and France. He also accused the Armenians of committing “war crimes and a genocide” against Karabagh’s Azerbaijani minority during the 1991- 1994 war.
In his speech, Sargisian insisted that it is Azerbaijan that unleashed a “policy of ethnic cleansing and full-fledged military aggression” against the Karabagh Armenians in 1992. He said Baku has “no interest in the resolution of the Karabagh problem” and again denounced Aliyev’s regular threats of a military solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute.
“In case Azerbaijan resorts to military aggression, Armenia would not have any other choice but to recognize the Nagorno- Karabagh Republic de jure and to invest all its capabilities into ensuring the security of the people of Artsakh,” warned Sargisian.
“Nagorno-Karabagh has no future within Azerbaijan and, whatever the solution, it should emanate from the will of the people of Karabagh,” he said.