VIENNA—On Friday, the Permanent Representative of Armenia to the OSCE, Ambassador Arman Kirakossian, delivered a speech at the Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council.
Kirakossian discussed the Azeris’ attempted military infiltration on March 19 along the Artsakh border in the Martakert region, which resulted in four casualties of the Artsakh 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 has hid 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 statements by the President and Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan, in which they voiced claims to the territory of the capital of Armenia and other territories and overtly expressed their intention to settle the Artsakh conflict through military aggression.
Kirakossian highlighted that the physical survival of the population of Artsakh and its protection from mass atrocities are the responsibility of Artsakh authorities. He recalled that those parts of Artsakh which fell under the control of Azerbaijani armed forces have no indigenous population left. In this context, Kirakossian said that Azerbaijan strives to resume the military phase of the conflict to suppress the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination through use of force.
Condemning the “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 strengthening the ceasefire by implementing confidence building measures is crucial to advancing peace talks.