Nalbandian on Karabakh conflict: Armenia, Minsk Group Co-Chairs have always stressed need for respecting commitments
Armenia and the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs have continuously stressed the necessity of respecting the commitments reached at the Vienna and St. Petersburg Summits.
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian on Wednesday stated the aforesaid in his address at the plenary meeting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament, in Brussels.
“In 1999, the European Parliament adopted a resolution which stipulated that Nagorno-Karabakh declared its independence following similar declarations made by the former Soviet Republics,” stressed the FM of Armenia. “Indeed, Nagorno-Karabakh has never been part of independent Azerbaijan. However, the leadership of Azerbaijan continuous to claim Nagorno-Karabakh, but not only. On February 8th the President of this country declared that different regions of Armenia, including its capital Yerevan are historic lands of Azerbaijan, where Azerbaijanis must return and that it is Baku’s political and strategic goal. I will leave to your consideration if this is a territorial claim towards a neighboring country, saber-rattling, or something else. But, it is well known that Baku’s belligerence on use of force and threat of force have many times turned into real actions.
“In April 2016, Azerbaijan again unleashed large scale military offensive against Nagorno-Karabakh that was accompanied by the gross violations of the international humanitarian law, including killing of children, women, elderly people, mutilation of the corpses, beheadings of captured soldiers in the style used by notorious terrorist organizations. Obviously, this aggression has caused a serious damage to the peace process. Two summits were organized by the mediator Co-Chair countries - USA, Russia and France in the aftermath of aggression, in Vienna and St. Petersburg aimed at stabilizing the situation and creating conducive conditions for the advancement of the peace process. However, Azerbaijan backtracked from the agreements reached at these Summits and refused to implement them. This concerns first and foremost to the creation of the mechanism for investigation of the ceasefire violations and the expansion of the monitoring capacities of the team of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, and of course the strict adherence to the trilateral ceasefire agreements of 1994-1995. There was a one and half year long interval between the high level meetings before the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan met again in Geneva last October. The joint statement of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Azerbaijan issued together with the Co-Chairs after the Summit reflected what Armenia has been long advocating for: to intensify the negotiation process and to take additional steps to reduce tensions on the Line of Contact, meaning the realization of the agreements reached at the Vienna and St. Petersburg Summits.
“It is not just Armenia that strongly advocates for the implementation of these agreements. The Co-Chairs have continuously stressed the necessity of respecting commitments reached at the Summits and the last such statement was made only days ago. However, Azerbaijan fails to respect the agreements. The recent most illustrative case was the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Krakow in January, where was agreed in principle to implement the expansion of the Office of the Personal Representative. Armenia and the Co-Chairs issued almost identical statements reflecting this agreement while Azerbaijan has not made any reference to it either after the meeting or up to now. When the Co-Chairs were back to the region few days ago, Azerbaijan again failed to honor the implementation of the agreement on the expansion.
“It is important for the international community to speak in one voice with the Co-Chair countries to support their approaches with the aim of advancing the peace process. All conflicts are different and it is not possible to put them together or address in the same cluster. There are diverse approaches of the international community in dealing with the different conflicts. In the case of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process the Co-Chair countries have reiterated on numerous occasions, including at the level of presidents, that three principles of the international law form the basis of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution, namely the non-use of force or threat of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples. These principles were elaborated by the Co-Chairs as an integrated whole and, as they stated, any attempt to select one of them at the expense of others would make it impossible to come to a settlement. All OSCE participating States, including Azerbaijan, endorsed these principles of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution during the December 2009 Ministerial Council in Athens. The European Parliament has supported these principles in a number of resolutions. So did the European Union, including in the Comprehensive and Enhanced partnership Agreement with Armenia. This is what the entire international community endorses.
“Any deviation from this compromise language proposed by the impartial mediators would damage the concerted efforts of the international community, would undermine the work of the Co-Chair countries, would send a false signal of disunity that may be exploited by the enemies of peace and eventually may derail the peace talks, open the door for new hostilities. Therefore, this issue should be taken with extreme caution. The position and language of those who have declared their support to the Co-Chairs approaches could not differ from one document to another. It should be made clear once and forever that there is no alternative to the negotiated solution proposed by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs, including the three principles of international law suggested by them as the basis for the conflict resolution.
“Armenia has continuously reiterated that will continue its efforts together with the Co-Chair countries towards exclusively peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”