STEPANAKERT (Panorama.am) — The position of official Stepanakert on a settlement of the Karabakh conflict remains unchanged: eliminating the reasons, rather than the consequences, should be the main key direction, David Babayan – the spokesman for President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic – told Panorama.am when commenting on the July 14 interview of U.S. Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick to the Russian daily ‘Vedomosti’. In the interview, Warlick called the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh “occupied”, saying that they must be returned to Azerbaijan.

Babayan said that no good will come of attempts to address the consequences without considering the reasons. “The fact that we have different borders and a different military and political situation today is a consequence of military reasons. If these reasons are not resolved, how can one address the consequences?” the spokesman expressed his perplexity.

He said that it is impossible to speak about the return of territories or other issues as long as there is no political decision on status of the NKR.

“We have repeatedly stated that we are not opposed to discussing any issues. We stated about our readiness to discuss the refugee problem, but it should be done on the basis of equal principles. Azerbaijani refugees may not return if Armenian refugees do not return to Baku, Sumgait and other cities where they lived and created,” Babayan said, noting that any changes to the borders are out of the question simply for the reason that this cannot guarantee the security of the people of Artsakh.

“We repeatedly said that the return of territories is impossible – being an enclave, Artsakh, with its former borders, cannot exist and defend itself. Besides, the adversary is tempted to solve the problem by military means and commit a new genocide. It is a fact, it is history, we are not speaking about theoretical things. They have maintained a blockade since 1988, they organized pogroms throughout the former Azerbaijani Soviet Republic, committed Sumgait pogroms, deported Armenian population of northern Artsakh. And now we need to forget it and return to the territories existing in 1988 so that all of us will be massacred? Imagine that the enemy again establishes control over Karvachar where our rivers head – rivers such as Arpa and Vorotan that flow into Lake Sevan making up 80% of Armenia’s water resources. The enemy will just poison this water to commit yet another genocide. There was a precedent in 1990 when they poisoned the springs that supply water to Stepanakert. All cattle died at that time, numerous people were hospitalized,” Babayan said.

In response to the remark that after making a statement about the need to return territories, James Warlick spoke about the necessity to deploy peacekeepers to ensure the security of the NKR, David Babayan said: “What can peacekeepers do if the USSR with its huge army failed to solve that problem? For many years, we have protected our borders without peacekeepers, and everything is all right, there are no problems. Everything is more stable than in many other conflict zones”.

Speaking about the statement of NKR Defense Ministry saying that unlike the situation in the last few days, Azerbaijani troops have begun to violate the ceasefire more frequently on the line of contact between the armed forces of Karabakh and Azerbaijan and on July 14 Azerbaijan used 60 mm mortars – in addition to small arms – in the southern direction, Babayan did not consider it a strange thing.

“Baku has always behaved like that. It just restrained itself for ten days in connection with the European Games, in its own interests. It does not mean that Azerbaijan’s policy has changed. Azerbaijan was and remains a terrorist and fascist state. We cannot expect anything else from that country,” the NKR president’s spokesman said.

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