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Armenia reserves the right to deliver preventive strikes if threatened by Azerbaijan

“We have no reasons to wage a war. We never provoke incidents. You are well aware of this. We never strike first. We don’t need it,” Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said at the meeting held by the Armenian Defense Ministry’s Board on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of the Armenian army.

As the press office of the Armenian president told EAD, Sargsyan said that the beginning of this year was tensed, with lots of attacks from the Azerbaijani side. “We have sustained bitter losses and we mourn for the killed boys together with their families. I think nobody doubts that the Azerbaijanis will pay a high price for the life of each of them: they already paid it in the past, they are paying it now and will pay it in the future,” the Armenian president said.

He believes that the goal of Azerbaijan’s attacks is obvious. “The Azerbaijani authorities are combining political and military means to create constant tension around us. This is a policy of sheer blackmail, which is addressed not so much to us as to the world community. Having failed in the negotiating process, they in Baku are now trying to show to everybody what they can do if their whims are not indulged, but they are doing this without considering the horrible consequences this may have for their own selves,” Sargsyan said.

He said that every time something negative or problematic happens in Armenia, they in Azerbaijan see this as their hour of triumph and get active on the contact line. “But they are building vain hopes. We saw their appetites as long as 25 years ago, when we were in much worse conditions. Many of you in this hall can remember how arrogant the Azerbaijanis were in the early 1990s, how they threatened to raise their flag in Stepanakert, to enjoy tea in Shushi or even to wash their feet in Lake Sevan. We were not as arrogant as they were but instead we demonstrated our prevalence in the battlefields. Today, we are stronger. We are as strong as never before," the Armenian President said.

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“We have no reasons for starting a war. We never provoke incidents. You are well aware of this. We never strike first. We don’t need it. But for each provocation against us they have always paid a price. The counteractions we have taken so far were symmetric in form but asymmetric in terms of the size of the casualties we have caused,” Sargsyan said.

He warned that from now on the form of the Armenians’ response may also be asymmetric. “Hotheads in Azerbaijan must know that we have lots of surprises prepared for them. Furthermore, if the Azerbaijanis deploy more manpower and combat vehicles along our borders and the Line of Contact, we reserve the right to deliver preventive strikes. We will not wait until we face troubles. We will be merciless towards those plotting troubles for us. If the enemy continues its policy of adventurism, we will be forced to cause it irretrievable damages,” the Armenian President said.

“We realize that the Azerbaijani leaders are ready to send hundreds and thousands of their citizens to retain power, but we will not let this happen at the expense of the lives of our soldiers and officers. We will not allow this," Sargsyan said.

He believes that peace talks are the best way to settle the problem but this is possible only provided that the cease-fire regime is maintained and bridges of confidence are built. “Nobody has ever achieved any progress by burning bridges,” the Armenian president said.

"We are ready for both good and bad outcomes. All possible scenarios are on my table. But we are ready to negotiate only with a sober-minded partner. If an enemy is unreasonable, it must be forced into peace. And this is what we are going to do," Sargsyan said.

It should be noted that since the beginning of this year the situation on the Line of Contact of the Azerbaijani and the Nagorno-Karabakh armed forces and on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border has become tense, with the parties reporting casualties and accusing each other of the incidents.

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