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Press conference

Remarks and answers to questions of journalists by Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian at the joint press conference with Alan Duncan, UK Minister of State for Europe and the Americas

27.09.2017

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am glad to welcome in Armenia Mr. Alan Duncan, UK Minister of State for Europe and the Americas.This is Minister of State Duncan’s first visit to Armenia.

I first met with our guest in Munich this February and today we have an opportunity to continue our dialogue.

As you know, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and the United Kingdom, within the framework of which different events are being organised.

Over the past 25 years, an effective cooperation in number of directions has been established between Armenia and the United Kingdom, and there is a mutual willingness to further expand the Armenian-British bilateral agenda.

Today we have exchanged views on political dialogue, active inter-parliamentary relations, expansion of legal framework, strengthening of ties between the two peoples, steps taken towards joint programmes in the field of education and culture.

We have focused on further intensification of trade and economic ties. In this regard, we welcome the appointment by the UK Prime Minister of the MP (Member of Parliament) Mark Pritchard as the Trade Envoy to Armenia. And we are looking forward to his visit which, I believe, will happen in a week.

We also discussed a number of urgent regional and international issues.

During the negotiations we have touched upon the developments in Syria, Iraq, and the Middle East in general. We were pleased to note the successes recorded in the fight against terrorism.

I briefed Mr. Duncan on the joint efforts of Armenia and the Minsk Group Co-Chair countries aimed at peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Now I will gladly pass the floor to our guest.

Question. Thank you, my question is addressed to Foreign Minister of Armenia. Mr. Nalbandian, after meeting with Mammadyarov in New York, the Azerbaijani side stated that it supports some interesting proposals of the Co-Chairs. Can you tell what it is about?

Edward Nalbandian: Foreign Ministry has already stated that in New York the Ministers, along with the Co-Chairs, talked about organising a meeting at the presidential level in near future, as well as the Co-Chairs’ visit to the region. We are expecting the Co-Chairs to arrive in Armenia in the first half of October, they are visiting exactly to prepare the meeting of the Presidents.

Other issues, particularly any proposals, have not been discussed. Perhaps, only Azerbaijan can say what kind of proposals have provoked its interest.
Question. Mr. Nalbandian, I would ask you to comment on the developments after the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Edward Nalbandian: I can say that we hope that the Iraqi authorities and the regional authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan will avoid the tension and will find opportunities to address existing issues.

Question. Minister, I have two questions. At the Armenia-Diaspora Forum, while speaking about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, you said, I quote: "It is about the return of those territories, the return of which will not undermine the whole process of conflict settlement and the security system, and will not endanger the resolution." My first question is, would you please specify which territories are those, the return of which, in your opinion, will not threaten the security of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh?

And the position of the government of Armenia on the Kurdistan referendum, do you welcome it? What can you say?

Edward Nalbandian: I have already answered the second question. I have nothing to add at this moment.

And on the first question, I think you should take a closer look at the answer that I gave to the "Voice of America" ​​in New York, where I said that the quotes and comments based on them were out of context, just as you are taking them out now, because you refer to a small part of it, and leave out the rest.

I was not talking about specific territories or only about this issue, but about the three principles and six elements enshrined in the five statements made by the heads of the Co-Chairing states, which, by the definition of the Co-Chairs themselves, are considered as a one whole. And separating these principles, these elements from one another will make the settlement absolutely impossible, this is what Azerbaijan is trying to do. And now you are trying to do: to separate these principles or those elements from one another.

I have also pointed out that, as the President of the Republic has noted in his speech, the most important issues are the status of Artsakh and ensuring the security. If these issues are addressed, the rest is derivative. When you have quoted me, you have not mentioned that before that I have spoken about the multilayer security guarantees, and I spoke about them in a very detailed manner. I do not know why some people need to take out some quotes, focus on one thing and make sensations. There is no need for that.

We calmly conduct the policy that we have pursued till now, in the result of which we say that our approaches are consistent with the proposals embodied in the statements of the Co-Chairs, which we have accepted as a basis for negotiations, a path to the settlement of the conflict.

Azerbaijan constantly denies them and does not even want to make any reference to them. It happened, and we have talked about it today, at the EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga when Azerbaijan simply, and I'm not going to avoid this word, ran away from the Summit because all the EU countries and all other member states of the Eastern Partnership agreed on the reference to the five statements made by the presidents of the Co-Chair countries on exclusively peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Question. I'm addressing my question to Mr. Duncan. You have condemned the Armenian Genocide in the parliament. Is that your personal opinion or the one of the UK Foreign Office? And don't you think that an international recognition of the Armenian Genocide would have prevented many crimes, such as the Holocaust, Rwanda and today's terrorist attacks?

***

Edward Nalbandian: (In addition to Alan Duncan`s answer) I can only add that indeed, a hundred years ago or a little more, in May of 1915, Great Britain, Russia and France, as you know, made a statement describing the Armenian Genocide as "a crime against humanity."

 

 

 

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