I am pleased to welcome the OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier and the delegation led by him in Yerevan.
It is pleasant to note that Armenia fully supported the election of Mr. Zannier as an OSCE Secretary General and we are confident that such an experienced diplomat would skillfully and wisely head the OSCE Secretariat.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has a significant role in maintaining security and peace in the area from Vancouver to Vladivostok. Armenia during its 20 years of membership to the Organization has had a considerable contribution to the strengthening of the Organization and raising of its reputation. Armenia is actively participating in the projects implemented in the frames of the
Organization and is engaged in all three dimensions of the Organization which are the bases for the activities of the OSCE.
The OSCE’s reforms are currently underway, and I should note that Armenia would support any initiative aimed at raising the effectiveness and reputation of the Organization.
We stress the importance of more than ten years of effective activities of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, as well, which has a considerable contribution to the reforms being implemented in various spheres of public administration, development of civil society and solution of environmental problems. And finally we stress the importance of the OSCE, as the negotiations over the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue are conducted in the frames of the OSCE Minsk Group.
During the meeting, of course, we touched upon the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and exchanged views on the negotiations process. We have the same opinion that the peaceful solution has no alternative. The sooner all would accept it and as the leaders of the Co-Chair countries are urging to prepare societies for peace and not for war, the sooner it would be possible to reach agreements.
In this regards, we attached great importance to the reaching an agreement on efficient steps aimed at strengthening of confidence-building measures and their prompt implementation.
I would like to pass the floor to Mr. Zannier with great pleasure.
Question, Anna Nazaryan, “Radio Lur”: I have two questions. First question is for the Minister. Minister Nalbandian, recently Aliyev has stated in one of his speeches that he is not going to make any concession. In this regard, what do you think about the productiveness of the negotiations and their results?
Edward Nalbandian: The Co-Chairs are stating and urging the sides to refrain from maximalist positions. But in response, the Azerbaijani leadership is stating that it is not going to make any concession. The Los Cabos statement, made recently, clearly notes that there is no alternative to the peaceful solution of the issue and use of force will not lead to a settlement. In response, a week ago, the Azerbaijani highest authorities announced that they have bought, are buying and will buy more weaponry for the solution of the issue.
The Co-Chairs are proposing to create a mechanism for the investigation of incidents, to withdraw snipers and to consolidate cease-fire regime, creating more favorable conditions for the settlement of the issue. But the Azerbaijanis are saying that they have neither a need to create a mechanism, nor to withdraw snipers, nor to consolidate cease-fire regime because when there is a final settlement, all those would not be needed. No comments! Yes, it is the reality. Anyway the negotiations have no alternative and Armenia would continue negotiations, exerting efforts towards the prompt settlement of the issue.
Question, Armen Ghazaryan “Armenpress”: According to the Turkish “Milliyet” daily the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Davutoğlu told that ahead of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide Turkey has a combination of three steps-to launch a dialogue over the “occurred events”, to work with the Armenian Diaspora and to conduct sensitive diplomacy with Armenia. For all these, “Armenia needs to withdraw from a part of Azeri territories.” How would you comment it?
Edward Nalbandian: You know, unlike such kind of combinations proposed by Turkey, the international community is proposing another combination of three steps: ratification of the Armenian-Turkish protocols without any preconditions; implementation of the reached agreements, again without any preconditions; and refraining from the attempts to link the normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and not meddling in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.
Turkey failed to undertake serious efforts towards that direction over 97 years - Turkey was unable to face its own history.
If Turkey intends to work in the same way in the next three years and proposes ‘a combination of some steps’ which lead to nowhere, the result is obvious.
Question, Mher Arshakyan, A1+: I would like to know how Armenia is going
to prepare its society for a peaceful settlement of the issue.
Edward Nalbandian: Unlike Azerbaijan, Armenia isn’t making bellicose statements and unlike Azerbaijan, Armenia isn’t saying that we increased our military budget for 20 times during the recent five years. Armenia isn’t saying that our military budget is ten times more than Azerbaijan’s and isn’t rejecting the international community’s proposals. Today Armenia’s position is in line with the position of the international
community which was repeatedly stated by the leaders of the co-chairing countries.
There are still four statements. Ahead of Los Cabos statement, three statements were made in the frames of the G8. After each statement, Armenia made respectively adequate reaction, according to which we welcomed the efforts undertaken by the international community and co-chair countries, and we are ready to move forward to the settlement based on those proposals.
So far, regarding to the L'Aquila, Muskoka, Deauville and Los Cabos statements, we have not heard about a similar readiness by Azerbaijan. They pick out some provision from the statements and present it by a unique edition, pretending that the international community shares their opinion.
The international community has a clear opinion that the use of force will not lead to the settlement and a new use of force would be strongly condemned by the international community. In spite of it, Azerbaijan is stating that nobody could tell Azerbaijan what to do, what kind of statement to make, how much to spend, how to increase its military budget and how to settle this issue. There are huge differences between the approaches of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
This brings to the situation when the majority of the Azeri public opinion is for the war. I do not think that You or many people in Armenia is in favor of a war. The overwhelming majority of Armenians are prepared for peace.