Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) Minister of State Ruben Vardanyan spoke to the BBC’s HARDtalk on Sunday, January 23, expressing conviction that his people will stay strong amid Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin corridor.
“It’s very important for the world to know what’s happening in a locked out territory, where 120 thousand people living in their own homeland for thousands of years and fighting for their independence during the last 35 years, have been blocked by Azerbaijani “eco-activists” since December 12. With support from the Azerbaijani state, they now control the road, and we don’t get anything [from anywhere] except from the Red Cross and Russian peacekeepers. We have no gas, limited electricity; no food and medicine, no gasoline can enter our territory without the Red Cross and the Russian peacekeepers,” Vardanyan said.
“From 1988 Armenians of Artsakh have been saying “we will not be part of Azerbaijan.” And they fight for their freedom. Today we are posing a very clear questions to the world, saying “do we have a right to self-determination, especially in a state that violated all the human rights for its own people?”
He reminded that children returning to Artsakh after spending six weeks in Armenia were stopped, and psychologically abused by the Azerbaijanis.
“There are no rights for the Azerbaijani people [in Azerbaijan], let alone Armenians. How do you see the possibility for an ethnic minority to get any rights or any defense? We don’t see any chance,” the Karabakh State Minister said.
Vardanyan reiterated that he was not going to leave Karabakh, as well as dismissed reports that there were discrepancies between the Artsakh and Armenia.