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-Arastun bey, addressing the opening of the Pan-Armenian sporting games-2019 in Nagorno Karabakh, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated: "Artsakh is Armenia". His words had a wide public response in Azerbaijan. What did Pahinyan mean under his statement?

- First of all, I"d like to note that relations between Pashinyan and the Armenian community of Nagorno Karabakh are strained as a result of struggle between him and the Karabakh clan, especially as Russia is eager to make Armenia its humble servant.

It is worth reminding that Pashinyan not only deprived the Karabakh clans of 20-years long power in Armenia but even tried to weaken their position by means of arrests and persecutions. It was no mere coincidence that I used a word "clans" because the point is about two clans - Kocharyan and Sargsyan"s that are far from unanimity in their approaches to many issues. Thus, Robert Kocharyan and his clan are closely related to the Presidential administration of Russia while Sargsyan and his adherents are close to the Russian military circles. It is no secret that the two branches of power are competing with each other.

In this respect Pashinyan"s aspiration to draw his country nearer to the West or integrate it into Europe looked slightly naïve, and this is natural. One must allow that Pashinyan is a populist politician following which persons of this sort are victims of such a policy. Another dangerous feature of populism is that persons of this sort give unrealistic promises that cannot be redeemed: credit of trust arising from these promises is rapidly devaluated. In this connection, Nikol Pashinyan is a hostage of his own populisn: instead of reforms he, improperly assessing the social-economic crisis in his country, tries to focus on internal/foreign political issues which, in turn, caused a reciprocal response inside/outside the country.

In other words, unrealistic foreign political initiatives of Pashinyan are straining not only Moscow but its opponents as well. Failing to make adequate conclusions, the Prime minister got down to still more dangerous populism through the use of the Karabakh card.

To be fair, Pashinyan is vitally interested in getting support of the Karabakh regime; hence, the Karabakh populism serves two goals: to secure his own power and concurrently assure Kremlin that he is loyal to the Karabalkh policy of his predecessors. The time will show effectiveness of his policy but but it is safe to say that Pashinyan cannot play his role for Moscow as Kocharyan and Sargsyan did.

- Is the response of the Azerbaijani party to the Pashinyan"s statement adequate? What steps should official Baku have taken as a response to his "sentence"?

- In my view, under complex geopolitical conditions the manifestation by the Azerbaijani party of emotional, populist attitude to the present developments would mean that our country has fallen under Pashinyan"s provocative statement. Indeed, it is difficult to say something definite ...

Who is concerned with violation of stability and relapse of combat operations in the Karabakh front, in terms of international tensions around Iran?

Unfortunately, I can suggest assumptions only. For instance, on the eve of probable military operation against Iran, Russia is eager to strengthen its position in South Caucasus. Ideally for this country would be start of military clashes in the region. As for Azerbaijan, if involved, our country risks to find itself isolated internationally and even jeopardize its sovereignty.

An adequate response to the above proved to be an even-tempered, based on standards on international law, statement of Hikmet Hajiyev, a head of foreign relations department under the Administration of the President of Azerbaijan.

- Some experts insist that Pasinyan"s statement was aimed at stirring up a military conflict. To their thinking, he is about to lose West"s support finally. The West demands from him to decline from Russia for good and all. In the meanwhile, Pashinyan is eager to foment a war conflict and thus turn away from Moscow in an attempt to get support from the USA and Europe. How far are these versions correct?

-It"d be too complex, multimove combination for the Armenian diplomacy, and I don"t think that this country is capable of gaining success. As mentioned before, the military conflict is likely to strengthen Russia"s influence in the region, and this is axiom.

As for West"s plan over Armenia, to my thinking, it is none other than overdoing of this country"s significance. At present, the West is interested in Armenia as means of pressure against countries of the region. For this to happen, it is not urgent to include Armenia into sphere of its influence which makes it necessary to help this country with billions of dollars, especially Armenia is gladly involved in this game. The very existence and maintenance of the Armenian statehood over the past 100 years have been based on rendering services of this sort. Regretfully, Armenia fails to get rid of this "strategy" and Armenia is baneful not only for its neighbors; it is a hostage of its own ambitions.

- With reference to Armenian political experts, some Russian mass media are alleging that in doing so Pashinyan is willing to change 7 regions of Azerbaijan into Karabakh. How far is it logical?

- Nearly all Pashinyan"s predecessors in Armenia attempted to conclude such a deal but failed: Azerbaijan will never accept it, for it"d be none other than capitulation. In my opinion, nobody in Azerbaijan would welcome such a "peace plan". Both Nagorno Karabalh and occupied regions around it are a territory of Azerbaijan and cannot be a subject of talks.

- Isn"t it strange: first border problems with Georgia, then Armenia"s statement on Karabakh ... What"s happening in the region as a whole? What do they want from Azerbaijan?

- I"ll start with your last item: you reaffirmed that clouds are gathering over Azerbaijan, and I"m confident that this is nonrandom. It"d be wrong to consider all the developments in the regional context. Today Azerbaijan attracts attention for, at least, three reasons:

First, the Iranian issue I mentioned above is much more complex that it may seem. Azerbaijan is considered to act as a bridgehead for combat operations against Iran. It should be borne in mind that involvement in actions of this sort may lead to disastrous consequences not only for the Azerbaijani statehood but the Azerbaijani nation as a whole.

Priority for us today is the national idea, national unity and solidarity of Azerbaijanis regardless of country of their residence; irrespective of their political and other views. The point is that our future is meant to be laid on the ideas above, for there is no alternative. In this respect, our participation in any campaigns threatening millions of our compatriots residing in Iran, is possible under no circumstances.

Second, owing to its geographical location Azerbaijan is ranked high to resolve important problems of communications and logistics as crucial issues of today"s geopolitics. Suffice it to recall that transport-communication corridors North-South and East-West run through a territory of Azerbaijan. However, the same advantageous position of the country attracts attention to Azerbaijan and enhances vain attempts of super powers engaged in these projects to carry out interventions into Azerbaijan. Loyal to their traditions in attaining goals, the global actors are seeking to avail of economic, political and military means to thus gain priorities. The factors mentioned above lay down reasons of enhanced activity both of Georgia and Armenia against Azerbaijan, and beyond any doubt, the two of them are governed from one and the same center.

Third, from integration of cultures" standpoint, today"s growing interest in Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis on the part of political and academic circles is not a mere coinsidence. Development of the expanse where various civilizations and cultures, ethnoses and faiths are mutually enriched and peacefully co-exist, will be a crucial factor for this rapidly polarizing world.

In all probability, the time for tensions between Azerbaijan and Georgia on religious grounds, and Armenia on ethnic-territorial basis is not coincidental. As has noted above, coincidence of tensions between three countries would provoke an intervention into their territories and seize communications, first of all, sea ports of Azerbaijan and Georgia.

It is obvious that prospects are not promising; however, to my thinking, there are some encouraging aspects. Contributing to maneuvering opportunities are diversity of global interests in the region and a great number of actors involved. In other words, should flexible, well thought-out steps be taken in the internal and foreign policy, it"d be possible to get out of the situation as winner or, at least, unloser. However, there is still lack of political will to take a decisive step.

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