Canada’s foreign minister, Mélanie Joly, said on Wednesday that possible sanctions against Azerbaijan are “on the table” as her country continues to closely monitor the developments in the Caucasus, while insisting on respect for Armenia’s territorial integrity.
Joly is in Yerevan to inaugurate the first-ever Canadian Embassy in Armenia. The ceremony took place on Wednesday afternoon, when the foreign minister raised the flag in front the of the building housing the embassy.
Earlier, Joly met with her Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan with whom she held a joint press conference, during which she commended Armenia’s ongoing efforts to promote peace.
“When it comes to sanctions, I’ve answered that question already, I said that everything is on the table, that being said, we expect that Armenia’s territorial integrity be respected, and for us this is definitely something that we are watching,” Joly told reporters.
“Canada commends Armenia’s ongoing efforts to promote peace and stability within the region. But we all agree that more needs to be done. As part of our continued work, Canada calls for the full respect of the territorial integrity of Armenia and reaffirms the importance of the strict adherence to the principle of the non-use of force and threat of use of force,” Joly added.
“Canada also calls on the Azerbaijani government for the respect of the right of return of the recently displaced Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh and to show good faith in facilitating the restoration of unimpeded humanitarian access to Nagorno-Karabakh for the safe return of ethnic Armenians,” the Canadian foreign minister said.
Mirzoyan told reporters that Canada’s overtures to join the European Union monitoring mission in Armenia are welcomed by Yerevan, adding that such a step would go a long way in strengthening relations with Canada and promote regional stability.
“Our region is in dire need of genuine and effective steps for ensuring peace, aimed at an objective assessment of the situation by international partners, ensuring a dignified peace for our people and preventing new catastrophes,” Mirzoyan said at the press conference.
“Armenia commends principled position of Canada, which was also expressed a month ago, on September 19, during the large-scale military attack unleashed by Azerbaijan against the Nagorno-Karabakh,” added Mirzoyan.
He lamented that supportive messages by allies, as well as orders by the International Court of Justice “had no effective impact on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, and this resulted in total ethnic cleansing of Nagorno-Karabakh carried out by Azerbaijan with its continuous actions.”
“We are confident that there are applicable mechanisms, the effective implementation of which can contribute to overcoming the atmosphere of impunity in the region and addressing the rights of people deprived of their homeland,” said Mirzoyan, who thanked Canada for providing humanitarian assistance for the needs of displaced Artsakh residents.
Earlier on Wednesday Joly visited the Dzidzernagapert Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex, where she laid a wreath and placed flowers at the eternal flame. She is scheduled to travel to Jermuk, in Armenia’s Ararat Province, to meet with forcibly displaced Artsakh residents.
Canada made a commitment to provide $3.9 million Canadian for this effort.