YEREVAN — The Armenian government has rejected Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s latest statements blaming it for the current deadlock in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.
Aliyev accused Yerevan of “disrupting the negotiating process” and preparing for war in televised remarks aired over the weekend.
“I have said before that we will not take part in negotiations for the sake of their imitation,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that we won’t take part in negotiations. It means that we won’t be joining in Armenia’s cunning policy.”
Aliyev said that Yerevan “provocative” actions and statements make further peace talks on resolving the Karabakh conflict “meaningless.”
The Armenian Foreign Ministry deplored these “baseless and false claims” on Sunday. “They highlight the neighboring country’s leader’s inability to perceive the existing reality and his role in the emergence of that reality soberly and without painful emotions,” said Anna Naghdalyan, the ministry spokeswoman.
Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan called Aliyev’s claims “very emotional” on Monday. He said the Armenian side is ready to unconditionally restart peace talks with Baku as soon as possible.
For his part, Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan accused Aliyev of putting “insurmountable” obstacles to the resumption of the peace process spearheaded by the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. “In terms of disrupting [the process] he probably referred to himself,” Tonoyan told journalists.
He also commented on the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs’ call on the sides to return to the negotiating table and continue the process without preconditions
“Do not worry. We are strong and persistent, and there are only victories ahead. I wish our people strength and resilience to overcome all possible trials. I am sure that our people will have only victories, because our desire is just,” Tonoyan said, adding that not only the armed forces but also the people are the guarantor of Armenia’s independence.