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 Friday, September 23 2022 12:32
Alexandr Avanesov

Armenia`s premier delivers speech at U.N. General Assembly: risk of  new Azerbaijani aggression remains very high

Armenia`s premier delivers speech at U.N. General Assembly: risk of  new Azerbaijani aggression remains very high

ArmInfo. As part of his working visit to New York, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan delivered a  speech at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters.

Below is the full speech of the Prime Minister of Armenia.

"Mr. President, Excellences, Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honor to return to the General Assembly, though I wish I was  here with a more positive message, given all the challenges and  tribulations the world has been through in the past few years.  But  my statement will focus on the latest Azerbaijani unprovoked  aggression against the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia  and its overall impact on the stability in the South Caucasus.

On September 13, Azerbaijan launched an unprovoked and unjustified  military aggression against Armenia.  Using heavy artillery, Multiple  Rocket Launchers and combat UAVs, the Azerbaijani armed forces  shelled 36 residential areas and communities, including towns of  Goris, Jermuk, Vardenis, Kapan, Geghamasar deep within the sovereign  territory of Armenia. This was not a border clash. It was a direct,  undeniable attack against the sovereignty and the territorial  integrity of Armenia, which was condemned and addressed during the  latest UN Security Council meetings and beyond.

The Azerbaijani attack deliberately targeted civilian population and  vital civilian infrastructures: Jermuk is one of the main health  tourism and resort places of Armenia and now as a result of  Azerbaijani aggression all the hotels, resort and health centers of  Jermuk are closed. All the residents of this town are displaced.   Overall number of those temporarily displaced from Gegharkunik,  Vayots Dzor, and Syunik regions of Armenia is more than 7600 persons,  mostly women and elderly people, among them 1437 children and 99  persons with disabilities.

Around 192 houses, 3 hotels, 2 schools, 1 medical facility, 1 medical  facility, partially or completely destroyed. 7 electrical  infrastructures, 5 water infrastructures, 3 gas pipelines, 1 bridge  were damaged. 2 ambulances, 4 private cars were shelled. The Kechut  water reservoir was targeted and shelled. Journalists and ambulance  vehicles were targeted and shelled as well.  As a result of the  aggression, the number of victims and missing persons at the moment  exceeded 207, among them 3 civilians were killed and 2 civilians are  missing. 293 servicemen and 8 civilians were wounded, at least 20  servicemen were captured. There are evidences of cases of torture,  mutilation of captured or already dead servicemen, numerous instances  of extra-judicial killings, and ill-treatment of Armenian prisoners  of war, as well as humiliating treatment of the bodies. The dead  bodies of Armenian female military personnel were mutilated and then  "proudly" video-recorded with particular cruelty by the Azerbaijani  servicemen. The videos featuring such gruesome war crimes and crimes  against humanity are being shared and praised on Azerbaijani social  media by individual users.

No doubt, committing such unspeakable atrocities is a direct result  of decades long policy of implanting anti-Armenian hatred and  animosity in the Azerbaijani society by the political leadership.

In the wake of this offensive, the official narrative and other  sources of information suggest that Azerbaijan intends to occupy more  territories of Armenia, which needs to be prevented. I want to stress  that the risk of new aggression by Azerbaijan remains very high,  especially taking into account that every day Azerbaijan violates the  ceasefire, and the number of causalities and those injured could  change any moment. Another factor for further escalation can be  inappropriate reaction to this situation by the regional security  organizations, which raised very hard questions among Armenian  society.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite the above-mentioned facts Azerbaijan is trying to pose itself  as a country seeking peace in our region, peace with Armenia. Hearing  from aside what Azerbaijan is saying, you can even be impressed by  its devotion to peace efforts. And for staging this impression  Azerbaijan is using the subjects of Peace treaty with Armenia, border  delimitation, and regional communication opening agenda.

Why we have no tangible progress in these directions. The reason is  very simple. Azerbaijan is using all those topics for territorial  claims against Armenia. For example - one of the most important  subjects of peace treaty is bilateral recognition of territorial  integrity between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We have already declared  that we are ready to do so, but Azerbaijan hasn't done it so far. On  the contrary, Azerbaijan has been publicly voicing that the entire  South and East of Armenia and even the capital city of Yerevan, is an  Azerbaijani land. On the other hand, Azerbaijan is keeping under  occupation tangible territories of Armenia, and as I said the risk of  new aggression by Azerbaijan remains very high.

In this regard I'm posing an official and public question to the  Azerbaijani president. Could you show the map of Armenia, that you  recognize or are ready to recognize as the Republic of Armenia? Why  I'm asking this. Because it can come out that from the point of view  of official Azerbaijan only half of Armenia and even less - is the  Republic of Armenia. If Azerbaijan would recognize territorial  integrity of Armenia, not theoretically, but concretely, I mean the  integrity of our internationally recognized territory of 29.800  square kilometers, it would mean that we can sign peace treaty by  mutually recognizing each other's territorial integrity. Otherwise,  we would have a phantom peace treaty and after that Azerbaijan will  use border delimitation process for new territorial claims and  occupation.

As you may know bilateral commission of border delimitation and  border security was formed in May and two meetings of the commission  have taken place. Before the formation of the commission, last year  Azerbaijan occupied more than 40 square kilometer territories of  Armenia. And then, one of the excuses of Azerbaijan about the reasons  they have done this - was that Armenia, according to them, refuses to  form border delimitation commission. Of course we didn't refuse to do  that but only insisted that simultaneously a mechanism of border  security should be established.

In the end, according to our international partners' request, who  argued that the border commission work itself will be a reliable  factor for border security, we agreed to start the work. And now that  border delimitation and security commission has been formed and is  working, Azerbaijan initiated a new phase of aggression. And some of  those international partners are silent. But what is now the  explanation for aggression of Azerbaijan. You know, if someone has  excess of aggressiveness the reason always will be there. As it is  said in a movie it is always possible to find a reason. For example,  why they killed prince Hamlet. Who killed, how, when and why - it  doesn't matter. The reality is that Azerbaijan is trying and will  continue to use delimitation process for territorial claims against  Armenia.

Another such a topic is the opening of regional transport  communication links. Azerbaijan is trying to represent Armenia as a  destructive side in this discussion. The reality is, that Armenia is  ready to open its roads for Azerbaijan in the framework of our  national legislation. Moreover, recently the draft decision of  government was published, that supposes to open three check points in  the border with Azerbaijan for implementation of the article 9 of the  trilateral statement from November 9, 2020. According to that draft,  citizens and goods of Azerbaijan would be eligible to use the  existing roads of Armenia to commute from main Azerbaijan to the  Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. The Armenian government had political  will to unilaterally accept that decision. But Azerbaijani officials  tell us, that they don't want to have those routes.  What do they  want? They want a new route to be constructed. It is also acceptable  for Armenia, but according to the 9th article of the trilateral  statement from November 9, 2020, a new route can be constructed with  the consent of the sides. Armenia is ready to construct such a route  which would operate according to the legislation and within sovereign  control of the Republic of Armenia.

So what is the point of Azerbaijani claims? Azerbaijan is hinting  that Armenia has to provide an extraterritorial corridor and  according to them the 9th article of the trilateral statement from  November 9, 2020 is supposed to do that. The trilateral statement is  a public document and in the 9th article there is nothing about  corridor, extraterritoriality etc. So what is the purpose of  Azerbaijan? To create a new crisis as a pretext for a new aggression  against Armenia and for a new territorial claim.

We have shared packages of proposals with Azerbaijan on the topic of  opening communications, and if Azerbaijan accepts that those routes  must operate according to national legislations, we can decide on  this very quickly.

By the way, the trilateral statements from November 9, 2020 and  January 11, 2021 imply that not only Armenia should provide roads to  Azerbaijan, but Azerbaijan should provide roads to Armenia too. And  we haven't received anything so far either.

As for the corridor wording, it is very important to note that in the  trilateral statement from November 9, only one corridor is mentioned,  and it is the Lachin corridor for Nagorno-Karabakh.

Ladies and gentleman,

One of the crucial factors of regional stability is the comprehensive  settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict where the rights and the  security of the Armenians living in NK will be addressed and  guaranteed.

Latest aggression is happening while the humanitarian consequences of  the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh have not been addressed yet. The  post-war rehabilitation of Nagorno-Karabakh, the psycho-social issues  of the displaced population, the repatriation of Armenian POW's and  the preservation of cultural and religious heritage remain on the  agenda of our Government.

Nevertheless, the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh are in need of the  support of the international community. We call to support the secure  and unhindered access of UN humanitarian agencies to Nagorno-  Karabakh in order to assess the humanitarian, human rights situation  and ensure protection of cultural heritage on the ground. We think  that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the  independent fact-finding mission of UNESCO should have access to the  Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.

Unfortunately, Azerbaijan has been blocking both missions by making  artificial, political preconditions, essentially blocking the access  of an independent fact-finding mission in Nagorno-Karabakh.

It is also reprehensible that Azerbaijan stalls the repatriation of  Armenian Prisoners of War, inter alia subjecting them to artificial  trials in gross violation of international humanitarian law, its own  commitments, and contrary to the calls of the international  community.

Mr. President,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Sustainable regional peace and stability is our objective. Last year  through democratic snap elections our people strongly supported the  peace agenda of the Government and re-confirmed the commitment of  Armenia to pursue the democratic path.

It is very important to state that the target of Azerbaijani attacks  isn't only the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of  Armenia, but democracy of Armenia too. Despite the expectation of  some forces Armenia stayed democratic after devastating war of 2020,  using the tool of free fair and democratic elections as a way out  from internal political crisis. International community unanimously  recognized and praised this fact.

The Armenian democracy is struggling in an atmosphere, when  Azerbaijan is using force every day, to impose its plans  unilaterally, to bring to the end the Armenian statehood,  independence and democracy.

But I'm here to announce that we are determined to defend our  democracy, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity by all  means. I want to underscore that diplomatic solutions are an absolute  priority for us and the full engagement and support of international  community is crucial. In this regard I would like to mention, that  the international observation mission to the Armenia-Azerbaijan  bordering areas would be an important factor for regional stability.

Undeniably, in the interests of regional stability and in accordance  with norms and principles of international law Azerbaijani military  forces must be withdrawn from the sovereign territory of the Republic  of Armenia.

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to stress again: we are determined to  build peace in our region, but we need the full support of  international community, which will stand by the sovereign and  democratic country and people subjected to aggression against the  norms and principles of international law.

I believe in the potential of establishing long-term stability,  security and peace and Armenia is committed to continuing diplomatic  efforts to this end.

Thank you for your attention".  

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