March 6, 2019 - 11:56 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenia wants Israel to halt arms sales to Azerbaijan but is not making it a condition for improving ties with Jerusalem, Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigor Hovhannisyan has said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post.
The Armenian diplomat said his country would “welcome a situation” where Israel would do as the US and most European countries have done and not sell arms to either Armenia or Azerbaijan. The two countries are in an ongoing conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Hovhannisyan said there was obviously no military solution to the disputed region, only a political one, and selling arms to Azerbaijan only fuels an arms race. He said that Armenia wants its friends to know that selling arms to Azerbaijan is “beyond a simple business transaction, and has consequences.”
“We are not a very wealthy country, and we have to set aside a sizable part of our GDP to counter every time Azerbaijan gets their gadgets in Israel,” he said.
He added, however, that Armenia “does not exclude the possibility for us as well to cooperate with the Israeli defense sector.”
Hovhannissian also said that Armenia is not conditioning closer ties with Israel on its recognition of the Genocide, the murder of some 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1923.
“We know that geopolitical aspirations often interfere with moral imperatives. And we also sometimes have to deal with that,” he said.
The diplomat, who served in Israel in 2000 on the team of the UN Middle East mediator Terje Rod-Larsen, said that while Armenia would welcome the “recognition of the historic fact of what the Armenian people had to go through, it is not a precondition to us to develop closer ties with Israel.”
Hovhannisyan also said that Armenia is considering opening an embassy in Israel in order to take ties between the two countries to the “next level.” It is not, however, considering opening the embassy in Jerusalem.