YEREVAN — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Azerbaijan of planning genocide in Nagorno-Karabakh and urged Russian peacekeepers to restore its sole transport link with Armenia again blocked on Monday.

“Today we see consistent actions that are making fears that Azerbaijan is really organizing and preparing genocide in Nagorno-Karabakh more and more objective,” Pashinyan said at the 4th Global Forum Against the Crime of Genocide Prevention held in Yerevan.

“And in this regard, I must emphasize the provocations that are taking place, in particular, in the Lachin corridor,” he said.

In Pashinyan’s words, the genocide could take the form of a “physical destruction” of the Karabakh Armenians or their forced exodus.

The threat and danger of genocide in our region remains a phenomenon that needs urgent prevention, PM Pashinyan said.

Noting that Armenians of Artsakh have recently been alarming about the threat of genocide, the Prime Minister said: “I think that we, all of us, and the international community should take those alarms seriously. It seemed that the tripartite statement signed on November 9, 2020 created the mechanisms to protect the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh from potential genocide, but unfortunately, step by step, we have seen and continue to see realities that make the voiced fears further materialize,” PM Pashinyan said.

“Today we see consistent actions that further materialize the fears that Azerbaijan is really organizing and preparing genocide in Nagorno-Karabakh more. And in this regard, I must emphasize the provocations that are taking place, in particular, in the Lachin Corridor. Some try to parallel the Lachin Corridor with other existing communications in the region or communications that may be reactivated or built, but I must emphasize that the Lachin Corridor is a genocide prevention corridor, because to close this corridor, to stop the operation of this corridor, actually means sentencing Nagorno-Karabakh to genocide,” PM Pashinyan said, outlining three scenarios.

According to him, the first scenario could be the ethnic cleansing, when the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh simply do not have the opportunity to live in their homes, on their land.

The next scenario, he said, could the “loss of identity,” which is another genocide model. “The struggle that Azerbaijan is waging against the toponyms and historical and cultural monuments of Nagorno Karabakh is the clearest proof of this,” he said.

“And the third scenario is the physical destruction, the signs of which we have also seen and continue to see, starting from the sniper targeting civilians doing agricultural work, ending with bombing and rocketing of peaceful settlements and residents during the 44-day war,” the Prime Minister said.

At the same time, he said: “I believe that dialogue and cooperation, including between Baku and Stepanakert, is the most important tool for preventing genocide.”

 

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