YEREVAN—Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian received the UN Deputy Secretary General and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark on Monday.
The two officials met over issues including the UNDP mission in different parts of the world and future projects.
The parties discussed urgent issues around the world and the role of the UN in their resolution. The UNDP Administrator hailed Armenia’s participation in peacekeeping activities.
The two parties expressed “deep concern” over the violence in the Middle East, Syria and Iraq. In this regard, Nalbandian welcomed a resolution unanimously adopted by the UN last week, which outlines the main directions for a fight against Islamic extremists.
The meeting of the Armenian Foreign Minister and the UNDP Administrator was followed by a joint press conference.
“Azerbaijan is trying to transfer the negotiation process on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict to different platforms, where there is no deep understanding of the issue,” Foreign Minister Nalbandian said during the press meeting.
The comments referred to a speech at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, who quoted resolutions on Nagorno Karabakh adopted by international and regional organizations.
“I think you mentioned that the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister did not mention the OSCE and the Minsk Group Co-Chairs engaged in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict and have an international mediating mandate and help the parties find a solution. The organizations the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister referred to do not have that mandate and are not involved in the settlement of the issue.
“Azerbaijan is trying to transfer the negotiation process on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict to different platforms, where there is no deep understanding of the issue. This is yet another proof of the fact that Azerbaijan is not ready to solve the issue. It’s not ready for a solution on the basis of the norms and principles of international law reflected in the five statements adopted by the heads of Minsk Group co-chairing countries,” Nalbandian said.
“Armenia has declared on many occasions that it’s ready to continue the negotiations on the basis of the provisions and proposals incorporated in those statements,” he added.
Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian also met with Helen Clark on Monday.
The president praised the activity of the UN Office in Armenia, including the work implemented by the UNDP throughout more than two decades. Sarkisian noted that the UN Office in Armenia has made considerable effort toward carrying out reforms in multiple spheres, making positive changes as a result of those reforms and realizing development programs in numerous communities. The Armenian President also said he highly appreciated Clark’s personal contributions.
At the meeting, the parties attached great importance to Armenia’s permanent dialogue and close cooperation with various UN organizations, especially the UNDP, for the benefit of Armenia. Helen Clark underscored that the UNDP is determined to underpin Armenia’s development. Clark attached great value to discussing Armenia’s development priorities with the Armenian government with an aim of fulfilling that mission and drafting a new United Nations Development Assistance Framework for Armenia.
The UNDP Administrator thanked the president for Armenia’s active engagement in activities of the UN and its different organizations, including the decision to be involved in the organization’s peace-keeping missions. Helen Clark also presented her appreciation for Armenia’s contribution to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and its assistance to thousands of Syrians moved to Armenia as a result of the Syrian crisis, as well as for Armenia’s readiness to be engaged in the process of working out a new UN development agenda as stated by the RA President at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in New-York.
At the meeting, the interlocutors also touched upon regional issues and challenges.
Clark also expressed gratitude to Armenia’s government for welcoming and accommodating refugees from Syria.
“I wish to thank Armenia for its assistance to the UN agency for refugees, as well as for helping Syrian Armenian refugees,” Clark said during her joint press conference with Nalbandian.
She also commended Armenia for its contribution to the work of the UNDP executive council, as well as for its participation in other structures of the UN, particularly in the UN peacekeeping missions.
Asked about her vision of further cooperation between UNDP and Armenia after moving the UNDP regional office from Slovakia to Turkey and Yerevan’s opposition to it, Clark said that the organization will continue to cooperate with Armenia in any format convenient to Yerevan.
“The United Nations is ready to assist Armenia’s development path that it chooses. We always take into account the peculiarities of a country. In this context, we emphasize Armenia’s direction of developing information and communication technologies,” she added.
Nalbandian said Yerevan appreciates the UN Armenia Office for the support provided over the 23 years of the country’s independence.