Tofig Zulfugarov: "Armenia somehow tests Russia"-INTERVIEW

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Tofig Zulfugaro

© APA | Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Tofig Zulfugaro

# 17 November 2021 16:31 (UTC +04:00)

Interview of former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Tofig Zulfugarov with APA

What was the goal pursued by Armenia, having committed a large-scale provocation on the state border?

Before these events, wide and tense discussions were going on in Armenia about whether Armenia can or cannot recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Some said that it was necessary to hold high-level meetings, to adopt certain documents. As a result of these discussions, it was felt that the political leadership of Armenia had decided not to recognize the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan. This means that they want to continue their policy based on territorial claims against Azerbaijan. They committed this provocation in order to send messages to certain addresses about the tension that had arisen and to involve some countries and international organizations in this. The main goal of Armenia is to form not a border, but a line of contact. The line of contact is a completely different concept. It is clear that in this case, relations will continue not in a peaceful format, but in a confrontation format. Therefore, in order to insure themselves, they intend to involve some international organizations here. That is, they want observers, structures from Russia, or what is more beneficial for them, from Western countries to come and continue the policy of provocations behind their backs.

The main question in Armenia is who should they expect support from - from Russia or from the West? There are pro-Russian and pro-Western forces in Armenia. At the same time, against the background of this provocation, they want to check Russia's promises of assistance. That is, Russia will come to the rescue, and even if not, then we will have grounds to pursue a pro-Western policy.

Most importantly, they understand that the topics are already separated. The topic of Karabakh is a separate topic, Armenia has no reason to interfere with this topic. Through this topic, they want the border, or rather the line of contact, which they would like to have instead of the border, to prove the position of the Armenian state, so that not a border, but a line of contact is created. But the military, political and economic capabilities of Armenia, as well as its political potential for carrying out this policy are very limited.

The Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia said that in connection with the latest incident they applied to the Collective Security Treaty Organization. But then it turned out that there was no such appeal, they will apply in writing, etc. What did Armenia want to demonstrate by this?

As if the same situation is repeated again as in the previous year, before the war. Last year, during the Tovuz events, there were appeals to the Collective Security Treaty Organization, to Russia. As I noted earlier, they are checking Russia in some way. That is, Russia says that it is an ally, but does not come to the rescue. And now they want to repeat the same situation. They believe that in this case they will receive help from Russia, observers will be deployed along the line of contact. I do not believe that the troops of the Collective Security Treaty Organization will come and deploy there to defend Armenia. All that is possible is a mediation mission and some observers along the line of contact. In a word, they hope to continue their policy towards the formation of the line of contact of the troops, to receive an international guarantee for this. In the second case, Russia will not help them, and in such a situation they will strengthen their pro-Western policy. Now there are opinions in Armenia that if Russia does not help, we will turn to NATO and France. The situation is something like this. These provocations are a direct indicator of the crisis within Armenia.

Why does Armenia avoid border delimitation and demarcation?

Delimitation and demarcation is a technical process. In accordance with international practice, delimitation and demarcation may arise after the conclusion of a peace agreement. The main point of any peace agreement is related to the recognition by the parties of each other's territorial integrity. If Armenia concludes a peace treaty with Azerbaijan, then the Armenian political elite will abandon the idea of ​​separating Karabakh from Azerbaijan and joining it in Armenia, which was the main idea of ​​their statehood for 30 years. This is the problem. We also saw that the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan made various statements for several months, he wanted to show that a peace agreement is possible. The basis of the peace treaty is also the mutual recognition of each other's territorial integrity. However, under pressure from the military and the opposition, Nikol Pashinyan moved away from the idea of ​​a peace agreement and focused on forming a line of contact. Thus, he chose the tactic of avoiding the topic.

How are the ongoing events perceived in Armenian society?

Panic and fear have been observed in Armenian society for a long time. This applies to both the Armenians remaining in Karabakh and those living in Armenia. The outflow of people from this country suggests that they do not believe in the future. And now, after the blows as a result of this provocation, their fear, of course, will increase. As always, they will continue to look for a master - "shall we submit to Russia or the West?", "Who is the more reliable friend - Russia or the West?" That is, their eternal question “who should serve?” Is still relevant. They are on the lookout.