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The conflict doesn’t stop existing just because one of the sides is declaring that it does not exist – Armenian FM

The conflict doesn’t stop existing just because one of the sides is declaring that it does not exist, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Miroyan said in an interview with Greek Kathimerini.

“Despite the claims of the Azerbaijani authorities that after the 44-day war of 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh does not exist as an entity anymore and that the conflict is over, the reality and the position of the international community prove the contrary: Nagorno-Karabakh does exist with its Armenian population, who continue to live in their ancestral land and whose security is now ensured by the Russian peacekeepers, in accordance with the November 9, 2020, trilateral statement, which stopped the devastating war,” Minister Mirzoyan said.

“The conflict doesn’t stop existing just because one of the sides is declaring that it does not exist. This is self-delusion. Moreover, the official statements by our numerous international partners and organizations, including mediating countries, also clearly show that the Nagorno Karabakh conflict still needs a final settlement through negotiations under the mandate of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairmanship; a settlement, which should provide guarantees of security and protection of all rights of the Armenians of Artsakh and accordingly the deriving final status of Nagorno-Karabakh,” he added.

Asked whether the war in Ukraine could influence diplomatic developments in the South Caucasus, the Foreign Minister said: “The situation in the South Caucasus remains fragile. While Armenia through its actions aspires to relaunch comprehensive peace negotiations, including on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and thus bring stability and peace to the region, Azerbaijan continues its policy of provocative actions and threats of use of force.”

“After the situation unfolded in Ukraine, the Azerbaijani armed forces invaded the village of Parukh in Nagorno-Karabakh, which was preceded by constant shelling of villages and civilian infrastructure, urging the peaceful Armenian population of neighboring villages to leave their homes under the threat of use of force, disruption of the operation of the gas pipeline for several weeks amid the unprecedented cold weather, etc,” Minister Mirzoyan stated.

“Currently, when the world focuses its attention on Ukraine, Azerbaijan may be tempted to launch a large-scale provocation at any moment. Hence, it is extremely important for the international community to undertake effective steps to prevent the attempts of destabilizing the situation in the South Caucasus,” he added.

“In line with the Trilateral Statements adopted by the Russian mediation on January 11, 2021, and November 26, 2021, and the agreements reached in Brussels, Armenia has constructively engaged in dialogue with Azerbaijan on general normalization of the relations, delimitation, and border security between the two countries and the unblocking of regional economic links and transport communications,” the Foreign Minister noted.

“We reiterate our commitment to work constructively in all directions, and I want to emphasize that the process would have been much smoother and much more effective if Azerbaijan would refrain from its dangerous maximalism and armenophobic rhetoric, holding numerous Armenian prisoners of war and other detained persons in captivity, destroying Armenian cultural and religious heritage, hindering the access of international humanitarian organizations to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, etc,” Ararat Mirzoyan added.

“Overall, we believe that despite all the blood and hatred the region witnessed, there is a real opportunity for peace in the South Caucasus. Armenia has repeatedly reaffirmed its readiness to establish long-term stability and open an era of peaceful development in the region. At the same time, it is obvious that these efforts cannot be one-sided, and we are expecting a similarly constructive approach and sincere practical steps from the Azerbaijani side towards this end,” he added.

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