ArmInfo. The Almaty declaration must not be the cornerstone for the settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, especially in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, Armen Ashotyan, Vice-Chairman of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), stated as he commented on Russian FM Sergey Lavrov's statement on the Artsakh peace process yesterday.
Azerbaijan's military aggression can by no means be justified, as territorial integrity is only one of the fundamental principles put forward by the OSCE MG co-chairs, including Russia. He recalls two other principles - nonuse of force or threat of force and the Artsakh people's right to self-determination - which are being disregarded now.
"As regards the rejection of proposals by the so-called former authorities, I would like to remind [Mr Lavrov] that in 2008-2018 none of the OSCE MG co-chairing countries publicly spoke of Armenia's counterproductive position on the peace process. Moreover, on April 22, 2016, the very same Russian foreign minister stated that 'Armenia did not reject the Kazan document'," Mr Ashotyan said.
"Yes, as we have repeatedly insisted, the Almaty declaration must not be the cornerstone for the settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, especially in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. However, Mr Lavrov is erroneously interpreting the Almaty declaration, as, under the law of the Soviet Union, Nagorno-Karabakh was not part of Azerbaijan when the declaration was signed," Mr Ashotyan wrote.
On February 2, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Russia 24 and RIA News that Azerbaijan regained its territories that had been occupied by Armenia for years.
Lavrov mentioned that the request to deploy a Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) mission to the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan arrived in September 2022, when there was an "outburst of violence resulting in the death of around 300 people." The plan was not implemented, however, as the Armenian side demanded that the document "condemned Azerbaijan's actions categorically", which the CSTO members were not ready to do. According to Lavrov, Russia had been attempting to resolve the issue politically for a long time, but Armenia was unwilling to give up the territories it had occupied around Nagorno-Karabakh. He noted that "Azerbaijan regained the lands which belonged to them."
Furthermore, Lavrov implied that Moscow is struggling to decide what to do next, as Yerevan and Baku, with the European Union's mediation, agreed to a document on the readiness to sign a peace treaty in accordance with the Almaty Declaration of 1991. According to the Declaration, the borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan would follow the administrative boundaries of the Soviet Union and its republics, including the Armenian and Azerbaijani SSRs (with the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast within it).
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