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Press conference

Remarks and answers to the questions of journalists by Foerign Minister Edward Nalbandian during the joint press conference with Minister of Foreign Relations of Brazil

17.11.2017

Good afternoon, I am glad to welcome Minister of Foreign Relations of Brazil Aloysio Nunes in Yerevan.

It is noteworthy that this visit of the Minister of Foreign Relations of Brazil takes place in the jubilee year of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries and it is a good opportunity to evaluate the quarter century history of the interstate relations and discuss programmes and reach agreements aimed at further deepening of bilateral cooperation.

Today, Mister Nunes will be meeting the President of the Republic of Armenia.

This is the first visit of Minister Nunez to Armenia, who is a good friend of our country, he was the chairman of the friendship group in the Senate and the initiator of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Brazil’s Senate. Before our meeting, in the morning Mr. Nunes visited Tsitsernakaberd to pay tribute to the memory of the victims of Armenian Genocide.

During today's meeting with my counterpart, we highlighted the established effective bilateral political dialogue, underlined the necessity of expanding the legal framework, which will create a favorable and stronger basis for the deepening of bilateral relations.Today we signed one more document - Memorandum of Understanding between the government of the Republic of Armenia and the government of the Federative Republic of Brazil on trade and investment cooperation. There are ten documents between our countries signed till now, seven of which were signed in the course of the last two years.

With the Minister of Foreign Relations of Brazil we share the view that high-level mutual visits greatly contribute to the continuous development of bilateral relations. We discussed with Mr. Nunes the course of implementation of the agreements reached with President Temer during the visit of President Sargsyan to Brazil in 2016.

We touched upon a wide range of issues of the Armenian-Brazilian agenda, exchanged thoughts on further strengthening collaboration in the international fora.

We had a comprehensive discussions on intensifying the trade and economic ties, strengthening ties in cultural and humanitarian spheres.

We stated with satisfaction that an effective cooperation had been established within the inter-parliamentary framework, we both attached an importance to further enhancing of the decentralized cooperation.

Today, the geographical distance gradually loses its role of an inhibiting factor. In this regard, the liberalization of the visa regime between Armenia and Brazil two years ago opens new, easier and broader opportunities for the intensification of mutual visits and strengthening of ties between the peoples of the two countries.

Speaking about Armenian-Brazilian relations, we should definitely mention the important role of the active Brazilian-Armenian community in enhancing cooperation between our friendly countries.

With my Brazilian colleague we touched upon a number of urgent international and regional issues.

I briefed the Minister of Foreign Relations of Brazil on the joint efforts of Armenia and the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries aimed at moving forward the process of settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, highlighting the importance of an impartial and balanced position on the issue and support of the proposals of the mediating countries.

Now I would like to pass the floor to my colleague.

Question: I address my question to Minister Nalbandian. In recent days, the Co-Chairs held meetings first with you, then with Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan. Against this background, we have heard from Baku that Azerbaijan expects and even demands that Karabakh negotiations yield specific results. How would you react to this statement? Thank you.

Edward Nalbandian: Armenia has always supported intensive negotiations towards the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, because there is no alternative to the negotiation process. In this regard we attach importance to the mediation efforts of the Co-Chair countries directed towards exclusively peaceful settlement of the issue. In this context were organized the meetings with Co-Chairs and Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

We have already informed, that during that meeting the possibilities of implementing the agreements reached during last summits - in Geneva, and before that in Saint-Petersburg and Vienna, were discussed with us. Also, an agreement was reached that a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan will be organized on the margins of the OSCE Ministerial meeting in December this year. `it is possible, that the meeting will be on December 6th, 7th or 8th. Exact date and time is not certain yet, but both sides agreed to have that meeting.

As for the statements coming from Azerbaijan, then I would like to remind once again that the Co-Chair countries at the highest level call to refrain from unconstructive, maximalist positions, if the parties want the issue to be settled. The Co-Chairs urge to reaffirm the commitment to the exclusively peaceful settlement of the conflict. Does Azerbaijan do that?

The Co-Chairs urge to reaffirm the commitment to the three well-known principles of the international law - non-use of force or threat of force, self-determination and territorial integrity as the basis for the settlement of the conflict. Does Azerbaijan do that?

The Co-Chairs call for unconditional respect and implementation of the trilateral cease-fire agreements, which have no time limitations. Does Azerbaijan do that?

The Co-Chairs urge to respect the previously reached agreements. Does Azerbaijan do that?

The Co-Chairs urge to implement the Vienna agreement on the creation of mechanism for investigation of incidents. And not just in Vienna. We speak about this issue for the last eight years at least. Let me recall, that already in 2011-2012, in Sochi trilateral statements were adopted at the level of the Presidents of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan, where it was already said, where it was already mentioned about the creation of mechanism. Does Azerbaijan do that?

The Co-Chairs urge to expand the monitoring capabilities of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. And what does Azerbaijan do? It does everything so that even if there is a formal increase in a number of the team, the monitoring capabilities, nevertheless, be limited.

The Co-Chairs at the highest level, at the level of the presidents of these countries, in a statement adopted in Deauville, called on the parties to agree in Kazan on the fundamental principles of the settlement of the conflict. Did Azerbaijan do that?

We had discussed the basic principles for about eight-nine years, but then Azerbaijan said that there is no need for fundamental principles and that they should not be discussed. And it was not only in Deauville, but also in Kazan ...

One can continue this list for a long, long time.

So, by making statements, pretending to be a lamb, I think they cannot deceive anyone. You know, there is a folk saying that once a wolf always a wolf.

Question: My question is addressed to the Armenian Minister. Mr. Nalbandian, there is an information regarding the upcoming Brussels Eastern Partnership Summit, it appears that the only provision of the Declaration that has not been agreed yet pertains to the conflicts. In this regard, probably also due to the understandable reasons, there are differences between Armenia and Azerbaijan and it seems it has not been possible to come to an agreement. Can you please elaborate what is the situation with regard to this issue, what is the position of Armenia, what does Azerbaijan want?

In coming days we expect the visit of your Russian counterpart to the region, Yerevan and Baku, and afterwards, it seems, that you will be meeting the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan. Does Mr. Lavrov bring new ideas, proposals? Thank you.

Edward Nalbandian: Here it is more relevant to talk not about the differences of approaches between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution, which are well known and I have just referred to them, but it would be more accurate to talk about the differences of approaches between Azerbaijan and the European Union, Azerbaijan and the international community. You know that there have been numerous evidences of these differences, also during the previous Summits, including those of the Eastern Partnership.

The position of the European Union on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution has always been the same in support of the efforts and approaches of the Co-Chair countries. It has never been a random position, but has been a well comprehended and elaborated approach that has been aimed at not harming the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process but rather by contributing to the efforts and approaches of the Co-Chairs to have an input to the exclusively peaceful resolution of the conflict. The EU has always adhered to this position.

As for the Declaration, then the negotiations are continuing and before they are concluded it is premature to state something on this Declaration. There are still several days. We will see.

As for the visit of Lavrov, it is an official visit. Lavrov will be here on November 20-21. This visit will be dedicated first of all to the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. We will open an important exhibition dedicated to this jubilee at the National Gallery of Armenia. A number of other events are also planned within the framework of that visit.

Naturally, Mr. Lavrov will have a meeting with the President of the Republic, negotiations will take place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we will also have a possibility to hold a press conference and you can then address questions both to me and Lavrov.

Russia is an OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair country and has a crucial role in the efforts to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict both as a Co-Chair country and as an important partner of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

As you know, we have allied strategic relations with Russia. Of course, this new visit will provide an opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues of bilateral relations, the implementation of agreements reached at the level of the presidents. The last meeting between the presidents took place two days ago in Moscow. It was an important event dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and opening of the Armenian Culture Days in Russia.

The range of questions is very wide. We, as you know, have allied relations and this already says a lot - we have multilayered, multifaceted and deep cooperation. We do not spare efforts to further develop and strengthen these relations. This will be the purpose of Lavrov's next visit to Armenia.

As for some proposals, I should say it is difficult to invent a bicycle in this process. Over the past few years, we have discussed numerous working documents, but the foundation of the negotiation process remains the same one, of which we have repeatedly stated. If Azerbaijan is more heedful to the calls, the approaches that the Co-Chair countries present on behalf of the international community as a basis for the settlement of the conflict, then more opportunities will be opened up to advance this process and achieve results.
 

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