The statement was made by Colonel Sahak Sahakyan, Deputy Head of the Personnel Department of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces. He openly voiced the intention of the Armenian leadership to send Armenian citizens to do their military service in Karabakh. “There will be no more conscript soldiers in Karabakh,” he said.
According to Sahakyan, a serious package has been developed to make military service in “Artsakh” attractive, with vacancies in the “Artsakh Defense Army” to be filled with contract soldiers.
But whatever they may be called, “conscripts” or “contract soldiers,” one thing is certain: the Republic of Armenia openly admits that its troops have been and will continue to be stationed in the territory of Azerbaijan. How should we respond to this? What should we do? And doesn’t Yerevan’s demonstrative attitude toward this issue spell a third war? Meanwhile, Secretary of Armenia’s Security Council Armen Grigoryan once again said that a “corridor” type road through the territory of Armenia was absolutely out of the question. According to him, Armenia’s policy in this regard remains unchanged.
Apparently, it was Sahakyan’s announcement of the intention to send Armenian citizens to serve in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan that directly caused the subsequent statements by President Ilham Aliyev and his military advisor Maharram Aliyev, warning Yerevan of the possible dire consequences for the Armenian side if it continued its revanchist actions and delayed border negotiations.
The need for contract military personnel from Armenia to serve in the separatists’ illegal armed forces is probably due to the inability of the Armenian population of Karabakh itself to provide its armed forces with sufficient manpower.
At the same time, the Karabakh separatists keep arguing that the Trilateral statement of November 10 says nothing about the “Artsakh Defense Army”.
But it is perfectly clear that the already complicated Azerbaijani-Armenian relations cannot be resolved peacefully without the withdrawal of armed Armenian citizens from the territory of Azerbaijan.
Farid Shafiyev, diplomat and Director of the Center of Analysis of International Relations, commented on this.
“Yes, we see in fact that the steps being taken by Armenia are actually the opposite of pursuing peace. We have a small window of opportunity when, within a certain time frame, we can make progress towards peace, progress in the negotiations on both the opening of transport communications and the delimitation of the state borders. But what we are really seeing right now is an impasse. There is little progress on the ‘corridors’ track.
“But in general, I have to say that the fundamental elements for achieving real peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan are a peace treaty and the mutual acknowledgment of territorial integrity. Notably, Armenia’s recognition of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity is much more important, even crucial, because there is no problem at all with Azerbaijan recognizing the territorial integrity of Armenia. Anyone familiar with the essence of the conflict knows this.
“That is, without Armenia recognizing Azerbaijan’s absolute sovereignty over all of its internationally recognized territories, all the other treaties are simply pointless. Yes, we can open corridors, we can open transport communications, but none of this will work unless there is peace and mutual recognition of territorial integrity.
“We are talking here about Armenia pumping up the military force in Karabakh again, and this is happening with the connivance of the peacekeeping contingent. Although in the last few days we have noticed certain steps by Russia towards, shall we say, stabilization, towards the development of dialogue. But once again, it should all come down to a peace treaty. Unfortunately, however, we have yet to see anything positive in this respect.
“Still, it is too early to talk about war. Moreover, Armenia does not have the resources for one. But there are reasons to tighten control over Lachin and to put checkpoints in place if the clauses of the Trilateral Statement are violated.”
Translated from Minval.az