Foreign Minister of Armenia Ara Ayvazian on Thursday decried Azerbaijan’s violation of the November 9 ceasefire agreement, saying that the situation created in the region is the result of use of force, adding that no conflict has ever been solved by use of force.
Aivazyan was addressing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Relations in a regular briefing.
Below are excerpts from Aivazyan’s presentation.
The latest serious ceasefire violation took place yesterday, as a result of which a serviceman of the Defense Army of Artsakh was injured. The defense and foreign ministries of Artsakh have issued statement over this incident, where they strongly condemned the provocative actions of Azerbaijan. We fully share the assessments in those statements and as a signatory of the trilateral declaration, we are seriously worried by the continuous violations of the provisions of that declaration by the Azerbaijani side.
Those violation first of all refer to the 1st and 8th points of the declaration, according to which, the sides should stay in their positions, fully abide by the ceasefire and return PoWs and hostages.
In some cases those violations have been interlinked, such as the attack of the Azerbaijani armed forces against Khtsaberd and Hin Tagher villages of Hadrut region, as a result of which 64 servicemen were taken hostage.
Pressing false charges against Armenian servicemen and initiating criminal cases not only violates the trilateral declaration, but also the Geneva Conventions.
Those actions do not contribute to the confidence-building efforts in the region, since the most important guarantee for confidence building is the fulfillment of the assumed obligations, and not hostage-taking and the continuation of the policy of anti-Armenianism.
Armenia pursues the goal of return of prisoners of war at the highest level, which was announced by the Prime Minister of Armenia during the January 11 trilateral meeting.
Armenia will continue its efforts to return all prisoners of war and hostages, as well as to clarify the fate of the missing persons. For this goal the Foreign Ministry cooperates with its international partners, combining its measures with other bodies in charge. By joining the January 11 trilateral statement, Armenia clearly showed that its ready to take measures for a mutually beneficial use of economic and infrastructural potential of our region. But for recoding success we need mutual trust.
Dear colleagues, the situation created in the region is the result of use of force. No conflict has ever been settled by use of force. Use of force can create a new stage in the conflict, but it cannot resolve the conflict.
Only a negotiated political settlement that will respect the rights of all parties, will pave the way to the elimination of the causes and consequences of the war, bringing a lasting peace and reconciliation to the South Caucasus region.
Karabakh conflict settlement is based on the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination. Armenia will continue to act as the protector of the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination and the guarantor of their security.
Armenia is ready to continue Nagorno-Karabakh peace process under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, based on the portion of the basic principles and elements, which were missing in the November 9 statement.
The de-occupation of the territories of Artsakh and the creation of adequate conditions for the return of Artsakh’s Armenians who have been displaced from those regions are also among the priorities of the Armenian sides.
Preservation of the many Armenian historical, cultural and religious monuments that have passed under the Azerbaijani control should be an important part of the peace process, considering the numerous facts of the organized destruction of the Armenian cultural and religious heritage in the past. So far any step by the international community aimed at the protection of cultural and religious heritage has faced the resistance of Azerbaijan, which does not allow specialized international institutions, first of all the UNESCO, to enter the region, over which that organization has already issued a statement.
The appropriation or distortion of the history and values of the Armenian people, the infringement of the rights of the Armenian people cannot create a good future for our region. From this perspective, the preservation of the cultural heritage and religious sanctuaries can create preconditions for reconciliation in the region.
Addressing the humanitarian situation in Artsakh is one of our current priorities, with the direct involvement of our international partners, in particular the UN.
In this phase, the partnership between Armenia and Artsakh is of key importance. Recently I visited Artsakh and held a discussion with the leadership of Artsakh over our joint pan-Armenian agenda. I think that we should also coordinate more closely our efforts with Artsakh at the parliamentary level, particularly, for to making the voice of the Armenian people more audible in various international parliamentary platforms.