Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan

Pashinyan explains why Azerbaijan attacked Armenia and not Karabakh

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YEREVAN (PanARMENIAN.Net, Panorama.am) — In a recent interview with RBC, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has weighed in on the recent escalation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, and explained why Azerbaijan attacked the territory of Armenia, and not Nagorno-Karabakh.

According to Pashinyan, the bellicose rhetoric of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has been growing in recent months, and literally a week before the escalation, Aliyev threatened to withdraw from negotiations on a peaceful settlement.

“There is a nuance as to why they attacked not in the direction of Nagorno-Karabakh, but in the direction of Armenia’s Tavush province. The Azerbaijani leader has promised his people that he would solve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue through an armed attack. The problem is that over the past 10 years, the Azerbaijani government has spent several billion dollars under the pretext of developing the Azerbaijani Armed Forces,” Pashinyan explained.

“And a week before that [the escalation] they said that “now we cannot attack in the direction of Nagorno-Karabakh, because the armed forces of Nagorno-Karabakh have installed video surveillance systems on the line of contact, and any movement of Azerbaijani troops will be visible to the Karabakh Armed Forces․”

He also cited a second factor which made Azerbaijan choose Armenia for the attack and revealed that there are many Azerbaijani settlements near the contact line of Nagorno-Karabakh, and it is now quite difficult for Azerbaijan to launch an attack in that direction.

“They attacked in a spot where not so many video surveillance systems have been installed. There is only one Azerbaijani village in this direction, and a lot of Armenian ones,” he added.

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In addition, at a cabinet meeting on July 23, the Government decided to allocate 25 million drams to the regional administration in Tavush. At least 150 million drams will be required to compensate for the property damage caused to the residents of border communities in the Tavush region of Armenia due to the shelling that began on July 12, 25 million of which are proposed to be allocated urgently. A task force to take stock of damage has been set up. The program features local construction opportunities, including citizens who have not gone to work abroad. Part of the funds will be provided in the form of a prepayment to start work as soon as possible.

Pashinyan noted: “At this stage, we just intend to allocate funds very quickly so that work could begin for further larger-scale efforts. I would like to inform our society that during the previous meeting we discussed this issue behind closed doors. Without going into the details of the content of that discussion, I will simply note that we have come to the conclusion that conceptual policy changes need to be made with regard to border villages. In general, these villages are still under direct fire and, therefore, reconstruction work was implemented with a slightly different logic. We must change the logic, and the border villages must not only be simply restored, but we must also have a clear policy, a clear strategy for the development of these villages and settlements.

 

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