YEREVAN — By launching the terror attack in Nagorno Karabakh on March 5 Azerbaijan sought to derail the negotiations, make fabricated accusations on shipments of arms from Armenia to Nagorno Karabakh and create new fake narratives and information flows in order to divert attention from its non-compliance with the International Court of Justice ruling, PM Nikol Pashinyan said on Thursday during Cabinet meeting.

Pashinyan described Sunday’s ambush attack  near Stepanakert, which left three Karabakh Armenian police officers and two Azerbaijani soldiers dead, as an Azerbaijani terrorist act. He said that that it was aimed at torpedoing dialogue between Azerbaijani and Karabakh officials and preparing the ground for a new military provocation.

“This fact is especially important on the background of the Azerbaijani President’s remarks made during the Munich Security Conference on February 18, 2023, where he accepted that there is an international agreement whereby they must discuss with the representatives of the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh their rights and security. However, the Azerbaijani President said that they were going to have these discussions with the people who were born and have lived in Nagorno Karabakh. On March 1, the first meeting between the representatives of Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan took place in the headquarters of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno Karabakh, and only four days later Azerbaijan launched the abovementioned provocation, which is difficult to be described anything other than terrorism. This act of terrorism left three citizens who were born in Nagorno Karabakh and had 1, 2 and 3 children there dead,” Pashinyan said.

The PM outlined Azerbaijan’s goals in the March 5 attack.

“First goal was to derail future negotiations with representatives of Nagorno Karabakh and create the necessary background for a new military provocation. In this regard I have to stress that the Foreign Ministry of Nagorno Karabakh released a statement yesterday expressing readiness to continue dialogue with Azerbaijan. This is an extremely important statement. I think it is necessary to create reliable international mechanisms in order for an uninterrupted and institutional Baku-Stepanakert conversation to take place, and this could become an effective guarantee for the implementation of the abovementioned international obligation. The next goal of the March 5 provocation was to create fake evidence falsely accusing Armenia in shipping arms to Nagorno Karabakh. This topic is important for Azerbaijan especially after the February 22 ruling by the International Court of Justice, when the court unequivocally rejected Azerbaijan’s request whereby Azerbaijan was accusing Armenia in planting landmines. The groundless accusations on planting landmines made against Armenia in several international platforms collapsed with this rejection. And now Azerbaijan attempted to misrepresent the March 5 incident as a proof on arms shipments from Armenia to Nagorno Karabakh, which failed for two reasons. First of all, the police vehicle was not en route to Stepanakert, but on the contrary it was en route from Stepanakert, and secondly the Azerbaijani ambush and the course of travel of the police vehicle was caught on Nagorno Karabakh police surveillance cameras, which made it obvious that the police car did not contain anything else other than documents and sidearms.  Azerbaijan’s next goal was the following. To develop new narratives and information flows with the bloody terrorism to conceal an important fact, that Azerbaijan is explicitly not fulfilling the ruling of the highest court in the world, the International Court of Justice, on opening the Lachin Corridor,” Pashinyan said.

Pashinyan stressed that despite the deadly violence Karabakh’s leadership issued on Wednesday an extremely important statement expressing readiness for further talks with Baku.

“I think it is necessary to create reliable international mechanisms for uninterrupted and institutional conversations between Baku and Stepanakert,” he added during the session of his cabinet.

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