The Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan on Monday issued a statement with regard to the reports on social networks that the Armenian army is equipped with the French-made PGM Mini-Hecate .338 and British-made Arctic Warfare.338 LM.
Holding exercises and increasing the combat readiness of the personnel using these sniper rifles suggest that these rifles have been imported to Armenia in large numbers and the Armenian army is equipped with them, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hikmat Hajiyev told APA.
“At first, it was said that only two Arctic Warfare .338 LM sniper rifles had been supplied to Armenia for testing purpose, but the extensive use of these weapons by Armenian armed forces proves the opposite,” said Hajiyev.
It is very worrying that the Armenian army, having committed aggression and invasion against Azerbaijan, has access to the British and French sniper rifles, the spokesperson noted. “Despite the Foreign Ministry’s expression of concern regarding the export of these sniper rifles to Armenia back on 25 April 2015, the manufacturing states have not clarified which way the weapons are exported to Armenia,” he said.
However, France and the UK always state their compliance with the arms embargo imposed on both Armenia and Azerbaijan under the relevant decision of OSCE, stressed Hajiyev. “At the same time, there is a strict arms export control regime within the EU,” he added.
According to him, the views on deliveries of these arms to Armenia through third parties raise questions. “Thus, according to the export control regime, the exporter should be required the end-user certificate during export-import operations,” he said.
Selling arms to Armenia, which occupied Azerbaijani territories, serves Yerevan’s purposes to continue the occupation and aggression against Azerbaijan and preserve the status quo, as well as hinders a peaceful solution to the conflict and the restoration of peace and stability in the region, Hajiyev underlined.
He went on to add that Armenia is using these types of sniper rifles not only for combat purposes, but also against civilians, including women and minors residing in Azerbaijan’s villages bordering Armenia.
“Armenia’s acquiring sniper rifles in various ways, including through fraudulent trading and “black market” once again proves that Armenians’ claims about the withdrawal of snipers from the contact line of troops under the guise of “confidence-building” are completely groundless and lie,” Hajiyev noted.
He said the Azerbaijani side hopes the French and British governments, based on their international obligations and the requirements of national laws, will seriously investigate the matter and take appropriate measures.