Baku’s use of human shields affects Karabakh peace, says Yerevan

By Asbarez | Thursday, 06 July 2017

Ministry of Defense spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan (Source: Photolure)

Ministry of Defense spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan (Source: Photolure)

YEREVAN—Armenia’s Defense Ministry on Thursday said that Azerbaijan’s continued violation of the cease-fire, as well as its decision to use its own citizens as human shields impacts chances of establishing peace in the region and resolving the Karabakh conflict.

In an interview with Public Radio of Armenia, defense ministry spokesperson Artsrun Hovannesyan said that Azerbaijan speaks about peace, but never loses an opportunity to instigate hatred toward Armenians even among the youngest of its citizens.

“The country fails to demonstrate even the slightest sign of decency, which quashes any chance of establishing peace or at least good-neighborly relations,” said Hovannesyan.

The spokesperson called this week’s attack on Artsakh position by Azerbaijan “a gross violation of a number of international norms.” He referred to the Geneva Convention that defines humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone and prohibits the deliberate use civilians to shield military operations. Meanwhile, he said “we have ample pieces of evidence of Azerbaijan violating the norms.”

“Disrespect for the enemy is just one side of the coin. The other side is Azerbaijan’s attitude toward its own population,” Hovannesyan said. “We have long known they don’t give a damn about their soldiers, but having the same attitude toward their civilian population is another matter.”

Azerbaijan places its missile systems in residential areas, thus making the civilian population a target of retaliatory fire. According to Hovannesyan, this fact should be brought to the attention of both the people of Azerbaijan and the international community.

“People in Azerbaijan should realize that Baku, which keeps manipulating facts about civilian losses, bears responsibility for the death of a two-year-old child. This is yet another expression of Azerbaijan’s ‘unhealthy’ propaganda,” he added.

“Azerbaijan speaks about peace, but never misses an opportunity to instigate hatred towards Armenians even among the youngest of its citizens,” the Defense Ministry Spokesman said.

He believes that “the most important message we have to understand is that Azerbaijan’s inadequacy leaves no room for establishment of peace or at least good-neighborly relations.”

“The Armenian side has stated on many occasions that in Azerbaijan we are dealing with a terrorist state. The recent report about Baku’s support for terrorist organizations comes to reinforce the assertions,” the spokesman said, referring to a report published this week detailing that over the past three years, 350 Azerbaijani diplomatic flights delivered arms and machinery to terrorist organizations.

Hovannesyan added that Azerbaijan has and continues to commit acts of terrorism against Armenians and “today we see documents proving Azerbaijan’s support for international terrorism.”