No matter what statements are made, Nagorno-Karabakh issue continues to exist – Mirzoyan’s response to Aliyev

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan responded to the statements of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev that Armenia is not sincere in the process of achieving peace, it is delaying the process of unblocking the region. The questions of Armenpress and FM Mirzoyan’s answers on the issue are presented below.

Question – The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev stated in his speech yesterday that Armenia is not sincere in the process of achieving peace. How would you comment on that?

Answer – The Government of the Republic of Armenia has repeatedly proved its readiness to make efforts for the establishment of long-term stability and peace in the South Caucasus. At the same time, it is obvious that these efforts cannot be unilateral, Azerbaijan must also take practical and sincere steps in this direction. The establishment of peace cannot be the result of the efforts of one side alone, and peace talks cannot be based on the proposals of one side alone.

It is also obvious that for the success of these efforts, it is necessary to address the whole set of existing problems that have caused the conflict in order to find a solution acceptable to all parties. In this context, the statements made by official Baku that Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is solved are at least not understood or, moreover, cast doubt on the sincerity of the Azerbaijani authorities’ intention to achieve peace. No matter what statements are made, the Nagorno-Karabakh issue will continue to exist as long as the issues of security, sufficient guarantees for the protection of all rights of the Armenians of Artsakh, and the status of Nagorno-Karabakh arising from them are not addressed. In the modern world, the situation created by the use of force cannot be the solution to a problem.

The assertion that as a result of the use of force even Nagorno-Karabakh does not exist, does not speak about the constructiveness of Azerbaijan. Needless to say that this, of course, corresponds neither to the de-facto reality, the most important part of which is the existence of Artsakh Armenians in Artsakh and the presence of Russian peacekeeping forces to ensure their security, nor the November 9 trilateral declaration, which stopped the war and clearly defines the existence of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The same can be said about the statements of the Azerbaijani authorities on the non-existence of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. First of all, no one has suspended it or can suspend the international mandate of the Co-chairs to contribute to the political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict without the relevant decision of the international institute defining it. In that case, it is incomprehensible that if the parties really want to negotiate sincerely, to find mutually acceptable solutions, to achieve a stable, comprehensive peace, then why should not those talks take place in the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs’ format? A format which has the clear support of the international community and not to using its experience and potential is simply not logical and reasonable.

Question – Ilham Aliyev claims that the Armenian side is delaying the process of unblocking the region. What can you say about this?

Answer – We have always stated that we are interested in opening all the transport and economic infrastructures in the region. This is evidenced by the trilateral statements adopted by the Russian mediation on January 11 and November 26, as well as the agreements reached in Brussels.

I would like to emphasize that Armenia has been involved in the discussions in good faith, the process would have been much smoother if there were no statements by Azerbaijan about extraterritorial corridor, which have nothing to do with the trilateral declaration of November 9, as well as with the commitments assumed by the statements I mentioned.

As for Azerbaijan’s efforts to draw parallels between the Lachin corridor and the regional transport routes to be unblocked, they obviously cannot have the same status, at least arising from the provisions of the trilateral declaration signed on November 9, 2020, which clearly define the status of the Lachin corridor. Moreover, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic have different statuses, different neighborhoods, different security environments. Accordingly, their relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan cannot be identical.

I would like to emphasize again that the November 9 declaration envisages unblocking of all infrastructures in the region, while Azerbaijan is delaying in taking steps in this direction. We are ready for unblocking the region within the framework of the agreements on the preservation of the sovereignty of the countries and jurisdiction over roads, and the recent talks between the Deputy Prime Ministers of the two countries in Moscow followed this logic.