Speaking to ARMENPRESS, Stefan Müller-Altermatt said that Azerbaijan is an aggressor, and Armenia is the victim. He states that Azerbaijan must be punished for its war crimes.
- Mr. Müller-Altermatt, the Azerbaijani forces have invaded the sovereign territory of Armenia. In September they again attacked Armenia. There was a footage showing execution of Armenian prisoners of war by the Azerbaijani troops. As a member of the international community, what is your reaction to these incidents?
- It’s illegal and it’s a crime. These words we need to use. Azerbaijan is an aggressor, and Armenia is the victim. Tragically, these roles are not that clear for big part of the international community, I think, because of their own interests perhaps, perhaps also because of less knowledge, but I think there are interests, of course, with big part in the energy sector. And Azerbaijan there has at the moment, because of the Russian weakness, a very good position. That’s the fate of Armenia now.
- In your opinion, what steps should the international community take or what role could it play to restrain Azerbaijan’s aggression?
- First of all, we need the truth. It has to be spoken out that there is an aggression, and it will be judged, and justice must work. War crimes have to be punished. At the moment it doesn’t look like, but there need to be justice and the truth. And then we need to have the same right for all the countries. We have an aggression of Russia against Ukraine. And it was clear, we need sanctions against Russia. We have now an aggression of Azerbaijan against Armenia, but we have no sanctions at all. In contrast, we have new agreements and statements from European Union that Azerbaijan is a reliable energy partner. But that cannot be.
- As you know, Azerbaijan is still holding Armenian prisoners of war and refuses to return them. What role could the international community play on this matter in order to force Azerbaijan to return the Armenian POWs?
- Even in this case we need international judgment. The humanitarian law is clear - after a war prisoners of war have to be exchanged. Even before, if they are not an element of the conflict, they have to be exchanged, they have to go home. We need pressure from the international community by judgment, by punishment and by sanctions.
- Azerbaijan claims that the Nagorno Karabakh conflict is resolved, thus, rejecting the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship format. Whereas, Armenia says that the final settlement of the conflict should take place within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. What is your comment on this? Do you think that the Minsk Group has nothing to do now? How do you see the final settlement of the conflict?
- The solution must be a political one, not a solution by violence, because there will be a second genocide, for me, it’s clear. If we say now it is solved as Azerbaijan likes to say, and the Minsk Group doesn’t have to say anything and Russia is weak, and we have no more peacekeeping troops, so there will be a genocide. Because it is after decades of hatred and recession against Armenians there will be crimes and cruelties against the Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh. So, we need a political solution. Of course, the Minsk Group is weak because of the weakness of Russia, but there is European Union that has responsibility for this region, there are the Western, all the Western nations, that have responsibility for Armenia, and the de facto Republic of Artsakh is democracy and I think we should stand for this democracy, we should stand for the freedom of expres...