In October 24 speech on military policy at Armenia’s National Defense Research University, President Serzh Sargsyan took time to respond to statements by his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev several days earlier. Aliyev accused Armenia of anti-Azerbaijani and anti-Islamic policy, while addressing the D8 Summit hosted by Turkey. In addition to Turkey, D8 Organization for Economic Cooperation includes Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria and Pakistan, all Muslim majority countries.
“Our problem is not with the Azerbaijani people, let alone with Islamic religion,” Sargsyan said. “We are certain that the Azerbaijani people wishes for peace, though these wishes must be properly channeled” by their leaders.
Sargsyan further stressed that negotiations with Azerbaijan could only go forward while the security situation in and around Karabakh was stable. “Negotiations must take place in conditions of mutual confidence that could only form when guns are silent,” he said. “Seeking a short-term tactical or propaganda advantage, neither side resolves any significant issue.”
Sargsyan continued: “Our policy is not one of vengeance or collective punishment, this was never and will never be the case. But every one of our military losses will result in a response directed at the opponent’s forces.
“We either talk or we shoot. And we are ready for both scenarios.”
Since October 16 Aliyev-Sargsyan meeting there has been some shooting, with first Armenian, then Azerbaijani side reporting a soldier killed from hostile fire.