Sarkisian Vows ‘Severe Response’ to Azeri Provocations

YEREVAN—President Serge Sarkisian warned Azerbaijan over the continuous “provocations” at the border, saying that they will receive the appropriate response. Meanwhile, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) President Bako Sahakian told Personal Representative of the OSCE chairman-in-office that the recent ceasefire violations by Azerbaijan aimed to destabilize the peace process.

“I have said on many occasions that provocations at the line of contact are extremely dangerous. I have said also that they will get a severe response,” Sarkisian told a panorama.am reporter on June 7 when asked about the recent incursions by Azeri troops.

Since June 3, Azeri forces have attacked Armenian positions in the Tavush region, as well as the Horadiz district of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic resulting in the death of three Armenian soldiers and one Karabakh soldier. One attack left five Azeri soldiers dead.

“Either these provocations have been commenced by the Azerbaijani leadership and in this case they carry personal responsibility for breaching the international commitments of Azerbaijan, or the armed forces of that country are out of the control of the general command,” added Sarkisian.

“We have no reason to resort to using force, since we consider that negotiations are the only way for the resolution of the conflict, and the settlement should stem from the realization of the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination. As the Minsk Group Co-Chairs have stated on many occasions, it’s necessary to prepare our respective societies for peace in order to be able to move forward toward a final resolution. The Azeri side continues to do the opposite, viewing the encouragement of xenophobia as a tool to divert the attention of its citizens from domestic issues,” added Sarkisian.

“It is especially painful that the provocations took place on the very day Armenian and Azerbaijani intellectuals were holding a meeting in Moscow and the U.S. Secretary of State was visiting the region,” remarked the president.

“We do not want the situation to become more aggravated, but we will not leave any action against our citizens, state borders or Nagorno Karabakh without response. The armed forces of the Republic of Armenia have been tasked to demonstrate restraint and vigilance, at the same time prevent and punish any provocation by the rival. I’m confident that the international community and the Azeri people are aware that the blood of the killed is on their conscience,” concluded Sarkisian.

In Stepanakert, President Bako Sahakian met with the Personal Representative of the OSCE chairman-in-office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk.

Sahakian characterized the latest gross violations of the cease-fire regime by Azerbaijan as provocations aimed at destabilizing the situation in the region and undermining the efforts of the mediator countries. He also stressed the imperative to take measures to neutralize such behavior, reported the NKR presidential press service.

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