Return of prisoners, NK status: 'recipe' for trust in region from Armenian FM
Return of prisoners and the status of Nagorno-Karabakh
The return of Armenian prisoners still held in Azerbaijan since the end of the second Karabakh war, and the decision of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh can become an important precondition for the formation of an atmosphere of trust and stability in the region.
Foreign Minister of Armenia Ara Ayvazyan stated this on March 29 at a meeting of the parliamentary commission on external relations.
The minister also spoke about the role of Russia during the hostilities in Karabakh in the fall of 2020, about the aggressive policy of Turkey and the international recognition of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire.
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Prisoners and NK status
In order to finally resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the minister believes, it is necessary to restore an atmosphere of trust:
“But the atmosphere of trust is not immediately restored. For this, it is necessary that the issue of the return of our prisoners of war and held civilians be resolved. This will be a really positive step on the part of our neighboring country.”
Ara Ayvazyan stated that the whole region has now entered a period of new challenges, in connection with which it is necessary to strengthen cooperation with partners interested in stability, security and peace. He stressed the importance of the co-chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group, “which will be able to lead the peace process on the basis of principles and elements developed over the years.”
Minister Ayvazyan also stated that in the new situation in the region, Armenia has already developed its own approaches and submitted them to the OSCE Ministerial Council:
“They call for a decision on the status of Artsakh based on the realization of the right to self-determination, ensuring the comprehensive security of the people of Artsakh, de-occupation of the territories of Artsakh occupied by Azerbaijan.”
“Artsakh cannot be a part of Azerbaijan”
The minister believes that the position of Azerbaijan during and after the hostilities showed international structures that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not just a territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan:
“This is about preventing the implementation of the next genocide program. Now, when various international organizations and countries observe the complete eviction of Armenians in the territories under the control of Azerbaijan, see how our historical and cultural heritage is being destroyed, how inhumanely Armenian captives are treated, I think they realize that Artsakh cannot be a part of Azerbaijan.”
“The war in Karabakh was stopped by the efforts of Russia”
Ara Ayvazyan stated that Armenia is following the new relations between Russia and Turkey, which does not stop its aggressive rhetoric towards Armenia.
At the same time, the minister expressed confidence that Russia, which is a strategic ally, “as a guarantor of Armenia’s security, will fulfill its obligations if necessary.”
Ayvazyan also stressed that the war in Karabakh was stopped by the efforts of Russia. However, at the same time, the minister does not believe that Armenia and its security are completely dependent on Russia.
International recognition of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire
“What has happened in recent months [speaks of the military actions in Karabakh and Turkey’s involvement in them as an ally of Azerbaijan] once again reminded the rest of the countries that impunity for the Armenian genocide encourages the repetition of such crimes,” the Foreign Minister said.
In his words, the recognition of the events at the beginning of the last century in the Ottoman Empire as genocide against Armenians remains one of the important directions of the agenda of Armenian diplomacy.
The minister was forced to talk about this, as recently Armenia has been actively discussing the issue of unblocking communications in the region and normalizing relations with Turkey.
In particular, the secretary of the Security Council of Armenia Armen Grigoryan in an interview with the Public TV channel recently stated that it is necessary to “adjust the approaches” of Armenia.
This statement caused a sharp reaction in the country, it was perceived in society as a reason to talk about Yerevan’s refusal to pursue the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
The MPs asked the minister if there are any negotiations with Turkey at the moment.
Ara Ayvazyan reminded them that the official position of Armenia on foreign policy is formed and voiced only by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He stated that he is not aware of any formats in which meetings, consultations or negotiations with official Ankara can take place.
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