“The time is ripe for the resolution for the Karaabkh conflict, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said.
Addressing the PACE winter session, President said “the settlement requires strict respect for the established ceasefire regime and honoring all the agreements reached in the past.”
“Settlement must be peaceful and overcome the deficit of justice. No matter where I find myself, I will always be at the forefront for this matter as well. The parties shall assume joint responsibility for the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and find a compromise solution, a middle ground settlement,” he said.
President Sargsyan stressed that the negotiation process under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs is the only internationally agreed format for the resolution of this conflict. “The international community, including Council of Europe, has reiterated its support to this format on numerous occasions. The commitment undertaken by Armenia and Azerbaijan requires a joint and concerted effort of all the parties to the conflict.
“Facing a permanent threat of war, Artsakh continues to build democracy and to promote respect for human rights. In all of these initiatives, Armenia will continue to provide full support to Artsakh. Armenia will tenaciously defend the rights and interests of Artsakh and help to strengthen Artsakh’s security,” he stressed.
“As the Secretary General of the Council of Europe has rightly noted, there must be no grey zones in Europe when it comes to the protection of human rights. I hope that in the not-too-distant future, this organization, too, will stand by the side of Artsakh with all of its expertise. A person living in Artsakh deserves it; the people of Artsakh have long earned this right,” the President added.
“The protection of human rights is a priority for the Artsakh government: as to the fundamental documents of the Council of Europe, Artsakh unilaterally subscribed to the European Convention of Human Rights back in 2015 and undertook to implement it fully. Commendably, Nagorno Karabakh has achieved all of this on its own, without tangible support from any international organization. It proves once again that in Artsakh respect for and protection of human rights are not mere words, but a conscious and determined choice,” Serzh Sargsyan stated.
“Artsakh cannot stay out of the international processes simply because Azerbaijan is opposed to it. The authorities of Azerbaijan commit flagrant violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms—not least the criminal prosecution of opposition figures and even their abduction from the territory of another country,” Armenia’s President added.
In response to questions following the speech, President Sargsyan said “both Armenia and Azerbaijan would like the conflict to end as soon as possible, but the problem is that there is a huge difference between those two desires.
Azerbaijan’s maximalist and unrealistic set of expectations ate the main obstacle to the settlement, President Sargsyan said, adding that the international community should help Azerbaijan get rid of the illusions and arrive at a realistic juncture.
In response to an excited speech by Azerbaijani delegate Samad Seyidov, accusing the President of avoiding to mention the “Khojalu genocide” in his speech, Serzh Sargsyan first advised him to calm down and stop distorting his words.
“I was a participant in the just struggle of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. Why did I not mention the incidents in Khojalu, that you call a genocide? It was for the simple reason that immediately after those painful events, Ayaz Mutallibov, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, stated in great detail and an informed way, facts that clearly showed who actually organised and carried out those massacres,” President Sargsyan said.
“I very much regret. Genocide is not a good thing. Carrying out or suffering a genocide is not an honour; it is a suffering. I think there is a trend in Azerbaijan to want whatever the Armenians have had. This is impermissible. Why do you need to call something that never occurred and was never carried out by the Armenians – a ‘genocide’?
As to those international organizations, which Seidov said adopted a number of resolutions on Nagorno Karabakh and the commitments to fulfilment of them, the Armenian President said: “There is no international organisation that would have adopted a decision that would have been rejected by Armenia. You tried to recall the United Nations Security Council resolutions. My advice to you, when you go into a topic, you had better study it. The world knows that the United Nations Security Council has never discussed the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. In 1993, the United Nations Security Council adopted four resolutions on stopping hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh area. After each resolution, Azerbaijan said it would not stop the fighting. It attempted new offensives and attacks, but as usual it suffered losses. In those four resolutions, the only commitment of Armenia was to use its reputation, authority and influence to get the hostilities to stop. To the credit of the then Government of Armenia, we honoured this one commitment. Azerbaijan – the number one responsible for the hostilities – failed to stop the fighting.”
“As you know, in 1994, the cease-fire agreement was signed, but it was signed under the influence of other factors, not the United Nations Security Council resolution. Unfortunately, the provisions of that cease-fire agreement are not being honoured. The agreement clearly states that the hostilities need to stop, and for a political solution, an extensive process of talks must be launched. As your own words clearly illustrate, you want the most in this process of negotiation – you want what is impossible. You want to return Karabakh to Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, xenophobia in Azerbaijan has got to the point that you are explicitly saying that you need Karabakh, but without the Armenians. That is impossible. It is never going to happen.
“The essence of the struggle of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh is very simple. It is a struggle for liberty, a struggle self-determination, and I am sure that that struggle cannot have anything but a positive outcome.”