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 Friday, December 1 2023 11:06
Marianna Mkrtchyan

Armenia`s entire sovereign territory has now become Azerbaijan`s  target - Armenian FM

Armenia`s entire sovereign territory has now become Azerbaijan`s  target - Armenian FM

ArmInfo. Below is a statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of  Armenia H.E. Mr. Ararat Mirzoyan at the 30th OSCE Ministerial Council.

Distinguished colleagues, At the outset, I would like to thank the North-Macedonian OSCE  Chairmanship for leading this organization during the last year.  Indeed, it was not an easy task, as the OSCE which still remains the  biggest security organization in the world, is rapidly declining as  once duly adopted and well elaborated mandates and commitments are  totally disregarded.

This process started several years ago when the OSCE failed to  implement its core tasks - early warning and conflict prevention.  Unfortunately, this process will continue unless there is no common  understanding that violation of international law in any part of the  world shall be unequivocally condemned and not tolerated, otherwise  it creates a sense of impunity becoming the new normal in other parts  of the world.  Regrettably, the OSCE area of responsibility is not an  exclusion.

In the South Caucasus the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the root causes  of which was hatred and xenophobia in its various forms and the  existential threat to the people who wanted to live in freedom and  dignity in their ancestral homeland, reached its final stage this  year. After a nine-month long inhuman siege, on September 19  Azerbaijan launched yet another large-scale military offensive  against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh which resulted in mass forced  displacement of its indigenous population. At this point in time, we  can state that in silent agreement of the international community  Azerbaijan has reached its long-standing goal - to get the territory  of Nagorno-Karabakh without its Armenian population.

However, even after having this done the claims of the Azerbaijani  side were not halted. Now the entire sovereign territory of the  Republic of Armenia has become the target of our neighbour. This,  coupled with continuous hatred, military rhetoric, use of force and  threats of use of force, refusal to come to the meetings organized by  various international actors, including the US and the EU,  illustrates that this country is not sincerely interested in peace  and stability in our region.

Distinguished colleagues,

Despite this humanitarian disaster in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia  remains committed to opening a new era of peace in the South Caucasus  and believes that it is still possible. For turning this possibility  into a reality, we need reciprocally genuine engagement of Azerbaijan  and the strong support of international actors to our efforts, which  are based on well elaborated and well-known principles. These  principles that were widely discussed and admitted or at least not  rejected by the Azerbaijani side include:

mutual recognition of territorial integrity based on the 1991  Alma-Ata Declaration and without any further ambiguity,

delimitation of the state border between Armenia and Azerbaijan based  on the freshest and legitimate maps - USSR General Staff maps of  1974-1978,

opening of all transport and economic communications with full  respect of the countries' sovereignty and jurisdiction, as well as  based on the principles of equality and reciprocity.

The Armenian side, reaffirming its commitment to the above-mentioned  principles and demonstrating its readiness to embark upon practical  steps, has recently presented the concept of a connectivity project  which we called "Crossroads of Peace". This ambitious project is  aimed at connecting East with West and North with South and through  regional cooperation create conditions for strengthening economic and  cultural ties, soften contradictions and foster better connectivity  and political dialogue between the countries of our region. 

In this regard the opening of the Armenia-Turkey border is also of  crucial importance. As you might be aware, we have reached the  agreement to open the land border for 3rd country citizens and  Armenian and Turkish citizens holding diplomatic passports, which was  reconfirmed by my counterpart, Minister Fidan at our bilateral  meeting on October 23; even concrete timing was indicated meaning  upcoming weeks, and we hope that in the nearest future we will  implement this first, but quite tangible step. 

There are also a number of humanitarian issues on Armenia-Azerbaijan  normalization that cannot be ignored. The release of all Armenian  detainees, including the ones imprisoned after September 19,  cooperation in addressing the fate of missing persons, protection of  Armenian cultural property in and around Nagorno-Karabakh can pave a  way to long-lasting, just and dignified peace. 

In conclusion, I would like to stress that Armenia as a responsible  member of OSCE has proved on numerous occasions its devotion to  regional and global peace and will continue to take steps to that  end.  And once again, I reiterate that Armenia remains ready for  negotiations and we need Azerbaijan to stop rejecting the proposals  of facilitators to meet and finalize the peace treaty. To ensure this  goal we need genuine efforts of all interested parties and the  international community as a whole to turn the page of violence in  the South Caucasus and strengthen international rule-based order. 

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