Sargis Harutyunyan

http://www.azatutyun.am/content/artic le/1998091.html

Samvel Babayan, a former military leader of Nagorno-Karabakh, warned
on Tuesday of a growing threat of another Armenian-Azerbaijani war
which he said may break out "at any moment."

"Things are moving towards the war path because Azerbaijan has the
impudence to demand everything and refuse to give up anything," Babayan
told a news conference. "This suggests that it is pushing for war."

"The situation is really dangerous. The war can start at any moment,"
he said.

Babayan, who led Karabakh Armenian forces during much of their
successful 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan, claimed that the only factor
that has prevented renewed fighting so far is what he called a lack
of Azerbaijani self-confidence.

"Azerbaijan realizes that if it restarts the war and fails on the
battlefield, it will lose not just 13-20 percent of its territory but
maybe 50 percent and that no mediator will be able to stop that,"
he said. "Mindful of that, it realizes that it should prepare for
the battle very well."

The remarks contrasted with a statement made by Armenia's Karabakh-born
Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian last week. Ohanian, who was also a
wartime Karabakh military commander, told RFE/RL's Armenian service
that another war with Azerbaijan is unlikely at this juncture.

He earlier dismissed continuing Azerbaijani threats to take back
Karabakh and Azerbaijani territories surrounding it by force.

Babayan, who has been based in Yerevan since 2005, again predicted
that the Karabakh peace process will remain deadlocked in the years
ahead. He also said the international mediators' recently modified
plan to end the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute favors Azerbaijan and
will therefore be rejected by Armenia.

"As far as I know, [President] Serzh Sarkisian will not opt for such
mutual concessions," said Babayan. He claimed that the mediators'
existing proposals are very similar to their 1997 peace plan that
called for Armenian withdrawal from occupied Azerbaijani districts
and indefinitely delayed agreement on Karabakh's status.

Then Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosian was forced by his key
ministers and the Karabakh Armenian leadership to resign after
advocating that plan.