Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan reacted to the latest clashes on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in an interview to the Fifth Channel, Armenian Second TV Channel and Yerkir Media on Wednesday, noting that Azerbaijan had tried to improve its position in that part of the border.
“The Armenian forces not only repelled those attempts, but also, by delivering a worthy counterattack, improved their positions,” he said. “I think that our military gave a proper, timely, quick and adequate retaliation. Afterwards, trying to return to the previous situation, Azerbaijan started shelling Armenian villages, using artillery and drones. And, in fact, the local battle turned into a larger-scale military operation. This is a very brief description of the latest happenings.”
“Now, why was Azerbaijan’s reaction to that local incident so, so to speak, painful? You know, we have to look through all this in the context of the past two years; what was going on at the border, what was going on at the Armenian-Azerbaijani line of contact. In fact, for the first time we suppressed Azerbaijan’s desire to improve its positions. The advantage position is crucial…Therefore it is very important to always think about improving and strengthening the positions on the frontline, which, unfortunately, we failed to do for the past 2 years,” Kocharyan stated.
The ex-president says during his tenor the Armenian army was always faced with the task of improving its positions, adding the essential strengthening of the positions started in those years.
“Every year I visited the frontline, mainly in Karabakh, to make an annual program of the works that had to be done on the border. Every year we invested our best efforts into improving the positions, building the second and then the third defensive echelons. This is a daily job and should be like that,” he stressed. “The army leadership knew that everywhere, in every section, if they had the opportunity to improve and strengthen their positions, it was their sacred duty and obligation to do so without thinking twice. This was always the case.”
Kocharyan next linked the escalation of border tensions with Armenia’s foreign policy. “The first conclusion, perhaps, is the following: it turned out that Azerbaijan’s president is not so constructive, Azerbaijan is not so peace-loving and the people of Azerbaijan are not so ready for peace,” he said. “Even during the 1991-94 war, such clashes between Armenians and Azerbaijanis never took place in Moscow or the United States. Now we need to fix two very important facts. Today we have not only a revanchist government but also a revanchist people in Azerbaijan. These two factors converge to increase the possibility of a renewed war. We must understand that there is no specific formula to address the people or pin hopes on the constructivism of the [Azerbaijani] government. The Armenian authorities must today admit that they have pursued wrong policies over the issue during these two years and the risk for a renewed war is greater now than two years ago.”