De-occupation of Artsakh territories, safe return of IDPs a priority for Armenia – Foreign Minister

Armenia is worried about periodic violation of key provisions of the the trilateral statement on Nagorno Karabakh by Azerbaijan, Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Aivazian said at a meeting with members of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Foreign Relations.

“He said the violations are primarily related to the 1st and 8th points, according to which the parties remain on the positions occupied at the moment of signing of the statement, fully cease the fire and return the prisoners of war and other detainees,” the Foreign Minister said.

According to the Minister, in some cases these violations have been interrelated. “For example the attack in the Hin Tagher-Khtsaberd direction in Hadrut region capturing of 64 Armenian servicemen.”

“The false charges brought against the Armenian servicemen and launching of criminal cases not only violate the trilateral statement, but also the Geneva Conventions,” the Foreign Minister stated.

He noted that these factors do not contribute to trust-building efforts in the region, as implementation of commitments is the most important guarantee for building trust.

“Armenia pursues the issues of return of POWs on the highest level, and Armenian Prime Minister declared about this during the trilateral meeting in Moscow on January 11. Armenia will maintain efforts towards ensuring the return of all captives, finding out the fate of the missing,” the Foreign Minister said.

He added that in this regard the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is cooperating with international partners, coordinating the steps with other relevant bodies.

“As a party to the trilateral statement of January 11, Armenia made it clear that it is ready to take steps for the mutually beneficial utilization of the transport and infrastructure capacities of the region, but we need reciprocal trust to move forward,” Minister Aivazian said.

He emphasized that the existing situation in the region is a result of use of force and added that no conflict in the world has ever been settled through use of force.

“The use of force can shape a new stage in the conflict, but will not solve the conflict. Only a negotiated, political solution that will respect everyone’s rights will pave the way for eliminating the reasons and consequences of the war, and bring lasting peace and reconciliation to the South Caucasus,” the Foreign Minister added.

According to him the right of the Artsakh people’s right to self-determination is at the core of settlement of the Karabakh conflict, and Armenia will continue to pursue the realization of that right.

“Armenia is ready to continue the process of peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict under the aegis of the OSCE Minsk Group and their countries, based on the part of the basic principles and elements not addressed in the November 9 statement,” the Foreign Minister said.

He stressed that a priority for Armenia is the de-occupation of Artsakh territories, and ensuring conditions for the safe return of displaced Armenians to their homes.

Given the previous experience of consistent destruction of Armenian cultural heritage, the protection of Armenian cultural and religious heritage on the territories under Azerbaijani control should be an important part of the peace process.

“Appropriation or distortion of the history and values of the Armenian people, violation of its rights cannot shape a good future for our region,” Minister Ara Aivazian said.

He said addressing humanitarian issues in Artsakh and the direct involvement of international partners, particularly the UN, is another priority in this stage.

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