On March 26, Permanent Representative of Armenia to the OSCE, Ambassador Arman Kirakossian delivered a speech at the Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council.
Ambassador Kirakossian touched upon the military infiltration on March 19 of the Azerbaijani armed forces along the Line of Contact in the Martakert region of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic which resulted in four casualties of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army. He stressed that the response of the armed unit of the Defense Army inflicted numerous losses on the Azerbaijani subversive group and that Azerbaijan tries to hide its military losses, officially restricting access of journalists and representatives of civil society to borderline settlements.
The Permanent Representative of Armenia mentioned that for the first time since the ceasefire was established Azerbaijan used artillery with caliber of 120 mm, which indicates Baku’s intention to further escalate the situation. Such deliberate actions of Azerbaijan are aimed at undermining of the ceasefire regime, established by the trilateral ceasefire agreements in May, 1994 and February, 1995, shifting the military balance. Ambassador Kirakossian stressed that this alarming development should be a matter of close attention of Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office.
Ambassador Kirakossian noted that while the world marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Azerbaijani leadership sends the messages of hatred and xenophobia. In this regard, he quoted the statements by the President and Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan, where they voiced claims to the territory of the capital of Armenia and other territories and overtly expressed their intention to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through military aggression.
The Permanent Representative of Armenia highlighted that physical survival of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh and protection from mass atrocities are under responsibilities of the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities. He recalled, that the Azerbaijani side in those parts of Nagorno-Karabakh which fell under the control of Azerbaijani armed forces no indigenous population survived. In this context, Arman Kirakossian stated that Azerbaijan strives to resume the military phase of the conflict to suppress the right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to self determination through use of force.
Condemning power policy of the Azerbaijani leadership, the Ambassador stressed that Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the military escalation of the conflict and its consequences. He reiterated Armenia’s firm position that consolidation of ceasefire by implying confidence building measures is crucial to advance peace talks.