Armenia and Azerbaijan are trading accusations as more die in fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia’s foreign minister tells Conflict Zone that Baku has chosen the path of war and Turkey is a force for destabilization.
Armenia’s top diplomat said he hadn’t seen any sign of compromise coming out from Azerbaijan.
Joining DW’s Sarah Kelly via satellite from Yerevan, the foreign minister said his country was merely protecting the lives of its compatriots in Nagorno-Karabakh, the disputed territory which has seen repeated flare ups in violence.
"For 30 years now, Azerbaijan has been taking every effort to isolate Nagorno-Karabakh," he said.
"Are we going to disregard the lives of our people?”" the foreign minister asked.
Mnatsakanyan dismissed allegations that his prime minister had provoked tensions by visiting the region and calling for its unification with Armenia.
Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized internationally as being part of Azerbaijan but has a majority Armenian population and has been de facto governed by a separatist group since the early 1990s.
Mnatsakanyan said the region was fighting for its existence and added that Armenians faced what he called poisonous rhetoric from Azerbaijan.
The foreign minister told Kelly that Azerbaijan had become a center of terrorist activity. Mnatsakanyan referred to reports that Turkey had brought allied militia fighters from Syria and Libya to the conflict to assist Baku.
"Azerbaijan today is a terrorist hub," he said and criticized Ankara’s wider role in the region.
"Turkey has been the destabilizing force in this situation. We have been warning about this consistently. We have been seeing these destabilizing, aggressive policies in every direction of the neighborhood of Turkey, East Mediterranean, North Africa, Middle East, he concluded."