ArmInfo.The presence of Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno- Karabakh is a key security factor, and Armenia provides all the necessary conditions for the smooth operation of the peacekeeping mission, unlike Azerbaijan, which uses every opportunity to question the effectiveness and appropriateness of the presence of the contingent. Ambassador of Armenia to France Hasmik Tolmajyan stated this in an interview to "CONFLITS" edition.
She recalled that Russia played a key role in ending the hostilities against Artsakh last year and that at present, Russian peacekeepers are on a mission in Nagorno-Karabakh, helping to ensure the physical security of the people of Artsakh and the restoration of normal life.
At the same time, in her words, Armenia continues to remain and will be the guarantor of the security of the people of Artsakh and will defend the fundamental rights of the Armenians of Artsakh.
"The security of Artsakh is ensured by the Defense Army of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Armenian government, in turn, spares no effort to mitigate or eliminate the consequences of last year's war, in particular, together with the leadership of Nagorno-Karabakh, it implements urgent programs aimed at restoring economic activity and solving social problems of the population of Artsakh ", the Ambassador said.
To clarify the expediency of continuing the current struggle in accordance with the international recognition of Artsakh, Tolmajyan stated that at this stage the Armenian side is focused on eliminating the humanitarian consequences of last year's war.
According to her, the issue of repatriation of Armenian prisoners of war and other citizens illegally held by Azerbaijan is especially urgent. According to her, the aforementioned persons are being held in Baku in violation of the trilateral statement of November 9, 2020 and international humanitarian law, moreover, refusing to return them, Azerbaijan does not hide that it uses this issue for political bargaining.
"We are very concerned about this issue, since it has been documented that Armenian prisoners of war in Azerbaijan are daily tortured on the basis of ethnicity. As for your question, the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh was and remains one of the key issues in the settlement of the conflict, which has not yet been resolved. Armenia will decisively seek to resolve the issue of the status of Artsakh under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, and will consistently promote the need for self- determination of the people of Artsakh, the realization of the right to live freely and with dignity in their homeland," the Armenian Ambassador to France said. In this context, Tolmajyan recalled that the first anniversary of the historic resolution of the French Senate on "the need to recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic" will soon be celebrated. According to her, this resolution, as well as a similar resolution of the French National Assembly, demonstrated that the French Republic and French society are not indifferent to the Armenian people in the conditions of the aggression of the Azerbaijani-Turkish forces, they support a fair and peaceful way of resolving the conflict. The diplomat also pointed out the importance of these resolutions for clarifying the international status of Nagorno-Karabakh and, therefore, for protecting the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination. Referring to the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group, Tolmajyan agreed that the co-chairs, despite the efforts and attempts to achieve a ceasefire, could not prevent and quickly stop the war against Artsakh unleashed by Azerbaijan with the participation of Turkey and international militants last year. "Despite this, at present there are favorable conditions for the full restoration of the work of the co-chairs, which Armenia only welcomes. The Minsk Group co-chairs are endowed by the international community with a mandate to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and one of the key issues, as I have already mentioned, is the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, which remains unresolved.Consequently, the Minsk Group co-chairs play an important role in this issue. The meeting of the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in New York in September under the auspices of the Minsk Group co-chairs was the first step towards the full restoration of the settlement process. Armenia welcomes the holding of this meeting and hopes that contacts with the participation of the co-chairs will continue, "the Ambassador said, adding that Armenia greatly values the participation of France in the format of the co-chairmanship of the Minsk Group. In her words, France has an all-encompassing constructive and balanced influence on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in this format, and this is highly appreciated in Armenia.