PM of Armenia: Karabakh conflict cannot be considered settled
“The right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to self-determination cannot be canceled, and the Karabakh conflict cannot be considered resolved as a result of the use of force”, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated this during his speech at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.
His speech during the general debate, or rather a video recording of his address, was aired on September 24, the day after the statements of the President of Azerbaijan, and practically became a response to the theses of his opponent.
Ilham Aliyev, who also spoke in a video format, announced that “there is no administrative unit called“ Nagorno-Karabakh ”,” “Azerbaijan has resolved the 30-year-old conflict by military-political means”, “The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a thing of the past”.
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Karabakh war and the settlement of the conflict
At the beginning of his speech, Pashinyan spoke about “the aggression that Nagorno-Karabakh suffered in the fall of 2020”. The Armenian Prime Minister stressed that as a result of the 44-day war, which Azerbaijan started against NK, several thousand people were killed, tens of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes:
“The aggression was accompanied by numerous gross violations of international law by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, including deliberate attacks on peaceful settlements and vital infrastructure, executions of prisoners of war and civilian hostages without trial or investigation, torture against them and many other documented crimes.
As a result of these actions in those areas of Nagorno-Karabakh that came under the control of Azerbaijan, the Armenian people were subjected to complete ethnic cleansing. […] Today, not a single Armenian lives and practically cannot live in the territories under the control of Azerbaijan”.
The prime minister stressed that it was possible to stop the bloodshed only thanks to the mediating efforts of Russia.
And now, according to Pashinyan, a fair settlement of the conflict is expected, which is possible within the framework of the negotiation process under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group. That is, he reaffirmed the commitment of the Armenian side to a peaceful settlement of the conflict and to this particular format of negotiations.
Prisoners of war
Pashinyan said that Azerbaijan ignores the agreements outlined in the trilateral statement of November 9 on the cessation of hostilities in Karabakh, in particular, the clause on the exchange of prisoners:
“Azerbaijan not only keeps several dozen citizens of the Republic of Armenia in captivity, but also sentenced many of them to imprisonment for a term of 6-20 years on trumped-up charges. In addition, there are citizens whose captivity Azerbaijan has not yet been confirmed, although there is clear evidence that they are being held there.
This becomes even more unacceptable against the background of the fact that in the fall of 2020, Azerbaijani users posted videos of the capture of several Armenian soldiers, and later the decapitated, dead bodies of these soldiers were found. We have incontrovertible evidence of the torture of our prisoners”.
Peace in the region
The Prime Minister of Armenia spoke about the intention of his government to start an “era of peaceful development” – through dialogue and gradually overcoming the atmosphere of hostility in the region:
“We understand that the path will be difficult and long. Unfortunately, there are incidents almost every day, the purpose of which is to de-legitimize the peace agenda, not only deepen the atmosphere of hostility, but also make it more systematic. Ceasefire violations [by Azerbaijan], aggressive and offensive statements against Armenia and the Armenian people continue to heat up the atmosphere”.
Unblocking of communications in the region
Pashinyan again spoke in favor of unblocking regional communications, which is also enshrined in a trilateral statement signed by him and the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan. He stressed that he is a supporter of the establishment of economic ties, and this, in turn, is one of the important prerequisites for the peaceful development of the region:
“In exploring the topic of opening roads, we found that there are options that aim to achieve regional isolation and hostility, but there are also options that emphasize regional connectivity and can help overcome the problem of hostility step by step. We are supporters of the latter option”.
Demarcation and delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border
The Armenian prime minister believes that it is difficult to imagine the process of border demarcation, when shots are fired almost every day on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and various provocations occur. Pashinyan again reminded international partners that since May 12, units of the Azerbaijani armed forces have invaded the sovereign territory of Armenia and are not retreating:
“To get out of this situation, we proposed the following actions: in the specified area, the armed forces of both Armenia and Azerbaijan are mirrored away from the border inherited from Soviet times, international observers are deployed along this border and under international auspices we begin work on delimitation and demarcation … We are ready to implement this proposal at any time”.