Armenian defense minister reveals country reserving right to ‘use force’ as tensions again flare up on border with Azerbaijan

Armenian defense minister reveals country reserving right to ‘use force’ as tensions again flare up on border with Azerbaijan

Nine months after Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a Moscow-brokered ceasefire after six weeks of fighting, the defense minister in Yerevan has warned that any future problems on the Azeri border may have to be resolved by “force.”

Speaking at a meeting with Stanislav Zas, the secretary general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Defense Minister Arshak Karapetyan noted that Armenia reserves the right to defend its territory militarily in case of provocations by Azerbaijan.

Armenia is part of the CSTO, a mutual defense pact similar to the US-led NATO bloc, comprising six former Soviet republics.

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Karapetyan spoke to Zas about the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The dispute is decades old, with both countries believing they have legitimate claims to the territory. The region is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians. Baku considers the enclave illegally occupied by Yerevan, which still controls a large amount of its land.

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Last November, following a six-week flare-up of the conflict, Russia oversaw a ceasefire between the two parties, which determined that Azerbaijan could keep the areas of Nagorno-Karabakh it recaptured. Armenia also agreed to withdraw from neighboring regions.

Following the ceasefire, the situation calmed down somewhat. However, in the last few months, the conflict has threatened to heat up again, with Yerevan claiming that Azerbaijani forces had crossed over into Armenian land.

“Since May, the Azerbaijani armed forces have infiltrated Armenia’s sovereign territory in two areas,” Karapetyan told Zas. “We support peace and do not want tension on our borders. At the same time, we are not ready to accept the situation when the Armenian border is violated.“

“And if the problem is not resolved peacefully, we reserve the right to resolve it by using force,” the defense minister stated.

Last week, Yerevan’s CSTO ally Russia sent border guards to the Caucasian nation after Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan asked Moscow for assistance.

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