YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Tuesday, April 2, threw his weight behind Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan, who has seemingly ruled out Armenian territorial concessions to Azerbaijan and promised a more offensive posture against the Azerbaijani army.
Visiting the United States at the weekend, Tonoyan dismissed the so-called “lands-for-peace formula” of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “We are saying the opposite: a new war for new lands,” the Voice of America quoted him as telling members of the Armenian community in New York.
“Nothing will be conceded,” said Tonoyan. He added, though, that “compromises are possible.”
“We will rid ourselves of the trench-based, constantly defensive posture and increase the number of those army units that can shift hostilities into enemy territory,” warned Tonoyan.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry condemned the “provocative” statement, saying that it undermined international efforts to resolve the Karabakh conflict. It also challenged the Armenian government to clarify whether Tonoyan voiced his personal views or official Yerevan’s position.
“If Davit Tonoyan had made a different statement I would have dismissed him as defense minister,” Pashinyan said, commenting on the minister’s remarks. “What did the defense minister say? He said that if a war breaks out our objective will be to win that war.”