YEREVAN (Combined Sources) — According to Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margo Wallstorm, Sweden sees the settlement of the Karabakh conflict through peace talks under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. Wallstorm discussed the Karabakh conflict during a joint press conference with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.
“This visit provided an opportunity to better understand how you see the resolution of the Karabakh conflict. There is no military solution to the issue. We should do the utmost to prevent escalation,” Wallström told reporters in Yerevan.
Nalbandian said, in turn, that “Azerbaijan believes it can blackmail the Co-Chairs with primitive, provocative statements.”
“It’s strange that they do not learn lessons, because their statements produce the opposite effect. The opinion of the international community is getting more targeted year by year,” he said.
The Armenian Foreign Minister is hopeful that Azerbaijan will finally come to understand that this stance gives it no privilege. As for Armenia, it will continue to work jointly with the Minsk Group with a view of reaching an exceptionally peaceful resolution to the Karabakh conflict, since there is no alternative to peace talks.
Nalbandian also brought up how Baku repeatedly uses a menacing language not conforming with the spirit of international relations.
Armenia’s top diplomat said he sees that the derogatory language is directed at not only the co-chairs of the mission, but also to those who dare to express opinions running counter to Azerbaijan’s position. He also praised the international community for developing a better understanding of the country’s policies and making their statements and calls more specifically addressed.
Minister Nalbandian further dismissed the repeated criticism that Armenia wishes to maintain the status quo around Karabakh. He said that both Armenia and the co-chairmanship of the Minsk Group mission have an interest to change the situation.
Responding to Azerbaijani claims that Armenia wants to keep the status quo, Minister Nalbandian said: “Armenia and the Co-Chairs are interested in changing the status quo. It’s Azerbaijan ignoring the calls of the OSCE Minsk Group to reinstate the commitment to solve the issue in a peaceful way through negotiations. It’s Azerbaijan refusing to create a mechanism of investigation of border incidents. Baku insists that it [the mechanism] will contribute to the maintenance of the status quo.”
At a meeting in Yerevan the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Sweden also discussed the opportunities of development of trade and economic, educational and cultural ties, as well as cooperation in the field of healthcare.
The parties agreed upon the improvement of the legal framework and investment promotion. They stressed importance of the Convention between the Government of the Republic of Armenia and the Government of the Kingdom of Sweden for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital signed between the two countries.
The sides agreed to continue the high-level political dialogue, and to hold consultations between two Ministries of Foreign Affairs on a regular basis to further deepen the cooperation. They highlighted the IT sector as an important field of cooperation.
In addition, Nalbandian and Wallstrom touched upon Armenia-EU relations, stressing the importance of negotiations on a new Armenia-EU framework agreement.
Wallstrom also had the opportunity to meet with President Serzh Sarkisian during her visit to Yerevan.
Sarkisian stated today that Sweden is one of Armenia’s important and reliable partners in Europe.
The sides observed that political dialogue between Armenia and Sweden had become more active recently.
They also discussed opportunities of bilateral and multilateral Armenian-Swedish interaction development, as well as Sweden’s assistance with reform implementation in Armenia.
Sarkisian stressed that Sweden has a notable role in strengthening Armenia-EU relations.
Meanwhile, Wallstrom assured that Armenia can continue to rely on Sweden’s support and be confident that the delegation headed by her has come to Armenia as a friend for EU Eastern Partnership and this region.
Earlier in the day, Wallstrom visited the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial in Yerevan. She laid a wreath at the memorial to the Armenian Genocide victims and toured the Genocide Museum Institute.