Armenia is ready to receive displaced residents of Nagorno-Karabakh but it doesn’t engage in a policy of depopulation of Nagorno-Karabakh and insists that Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh must live in safety and dignity in their homeland, PM Nikol Pashinyan has said.
Pashinyan said that Armenia has been accusing Azerbaijan of attempts to carry out ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“And now, when I analyze the situation, I get an impression as if there are some forces that seek to carry out Azerbaijan’s plan of ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh in a way for Azerbaijan not to have any occasion to be accused, in a way for Azerbaijan to say, look, Armenia and the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh themselves decided that no Armenians should remain in Nagorno-Karabakh, decided and left. This is a highly dangerous narrative. But on the other hand, of course, the safety of our compatriots of Nagorno-Karabakh is among our obligations,” Pashinyan said.
PM Pashinyan said that the government of Armenia made preparations for accommodating approximately 40,000 families, but did not announce this for a reason. “Why don’t we want to announce this? Because we believe that the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh should live in their homes, in their homeland, in dignity and safety. Today, at this moment, our assessment is that there is no direct danger facing the civilian population of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Pashinyan said.
Up to 1,300 civilians are now accommodated in the Russian peacekeeping base in NK. Pashinyan said the government of Armenia is ready to take possible steps but the problem is the blockade of Lachin Corridor.
Pashinyan said he has information that yesterday more than 10 thousand civilians were told to gather near the Stepanakert airport. “They were told to go there because it’s possible they would be transported to Armenia, but they were photographed and told as if Armenia isn’t allowing their transfer. It is clear for me that this is being done to cause domestic turmoil and chaos in Armenia,” Pashinyan warned.
Since the very first moment of the Azeri attack in NK, Pashinyan ordered his deputy to centralize resources in order to manage the possible inflow of people and accommodate them. “We didn’t announce about this because Armenia is not engaged in a policy of depopulating Nagorno-Karabakh of Armenians, it is Azerbaijan that is engaged in this policy. We can’t appear in a situation under emotions when Azerbaijan would implement its ethnic cleansing policy in NK with the hands of Armenia,” Pashinyan warned.