Addressing the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe on Wednesday, President Serzh Sarkisian called for a resolution to the Karabakh conflict and reiterated his promise to withdraw from the dangerous Turkey-Armenia protocols.
“The time is ripe for the resolution for the Karaabkh conflict,” said Sarkisian who added that a resolution “requires strict respect for the established ceasefire regime and honoring all the agreements reached in the past.”
“The resolution must be peaceful and just… The parties shall assume joint responsibility for the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and find a compromise solution, a middle ground settlement,” he said.
Sarkisian stressed that the negotiation process under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs is the only internationally agreed format for the resolution of this conflict. “The international community, including Council of Europe, has reiterated its support to this format on numerous occasions. The commitment undertaken by Armenia and Azerbaijan requires a joint and concerted effort of all the parties to the conflict.
“Facing a permanent threat of war, Artsakh continues to build democracy and to promote respect for human rights. In all of these initiatives, Armenia will continue to provide full support to Artsakh. Armenia will tenaciously defend the rights and interests of Artsakh and help to strengthen Artsakh’s security,” he stressed.
“As the Secretary General of the Council of Europe has rightly noted, there must be no grey zones in Europe when it comes to the protection of human rights. I hope that in the not-too-distant future, this organization, too, will stand by the side of Artsakh with all of its expertise. A person living in Artsakh deserves it; the people of Artsakh have long earned this right,” added Sarkisian.
“The protection of human rights is a priority for the Artsakh government: as to the fundamental documents of the Council of Europe, Artsakh unilaterally subscribed to the European Convention of Human Rights back in 2015 and undertook to implement it fully. Commendably, Nagorno Karabakh has achieved all of this on its own, without tangible support from any international organization. It proves once again that in Artsakh respect for and protection of human rights are not mere words, but a conscious and determined choice,” said Sarkisian.
“Artsakh cannot stay out of the international processes simply because Azerbaijan is opposed to it. The authorities of Azerbaijan commit flagrant violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms—not least the criminal prosecution of opposition figures and even their abduction from the territory of another country,” the president added.
Sarkisian also reiterated his earlier pledge to declare the Turkey-Armenia Protocols null and void and urged Turkey to refrain from its biased support of Azerbaijan, pointing out that during the 2016 April War, Turkey was the only country that praised Azerbaijan’s attacks on Artsakh positions.
“It would be insulting for the Armenian people to make unilateral concessions to establish relations with Turkey, “ Sarkisian said.
“Unfortunately, after the signing the protocols, the Turkish side has constantly tried and to date is actually trying to come up with preconditions. We have not come across such example sin international practice. All conditions are usually negotiated before a deal is signed. After a document is signed, basic morality requires complying with the requirements of the agreement,” said Sarkisian.
“Nine years down the road we keep hearing from the Turkish side about the need to allegedly take some steps toward establishment of relations. The documents clearly states that relations should be established, after which all of the existing wrinkles between the two states should be discussed,” he said adding that “Armenia can never accept preconditions.”