BSEC not the place to discuss the Karabakh issue – Armenia Deputy FM

The summit dedicated the 25th anniversary of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC) was held in Istanbul on May 22. The summit was preceded by a special meeting of BSEC Council of Foreign Ministers and the sitting of the Committee of Senior Officials.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayip Erdogan offered opening remarks at the summit. Attending the event were the Presidents of Greece and Moldova, the Russian Prime Minister, Foreign Ministers ad Deputy Foreign Ministers from a number of countries.

Addressing the summit, the Deputy Foreign Minister Ashot Hovakimyan referred to the work done over the 25 years of the organization’s existence, emphasizing the need to develop and reinforce its economic component.  He stressed that the regional economic cooperation, the economic projects in bilateral and multilateral formats cannot be fully implemented under the conditions of closed borders. He said the projects should involve all member countries without any discrimination.

In response to Azerbaijani Parliament Speaker Oktay Assdov’s accusations addressed to Armenia, Ashot Hovakimyan noted that “once again the Azerbaijani representative tried to use the BSEC podium to present the distorted picture of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.”

“We are confident that this summit is not the place and BSEC is not the format, where the Karabakh issue should be discussed. By doing so the Azerbaijani side demonstrated its disrespect for the BSEC Statute, the principles and goals of the organization and this summit,” Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister said.

Ashot Hovakimyan noted that “ progress in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement can be achieved only in case Azerbaijan refuses from its policy of force and engages in negotiations within the agreed format of OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship.”

The summit adopted a declaration, which reiterated the organization’s economic nature.

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