Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan's interview to "Al-Jazeera"

30 April, 2024

During the official visit to the State of Qatar on April 28-29, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan gave an interview to the leading news channel Al-Jazeera with around half a billion audience. The interview was published in Arabic and English versions. 

During the interview Minister Mirzoyan spoke about the vision of Armenia on reaching lasting peace in the region, the process of normalization of relations with Azerbaijan, the “Crossroads of Peace” project, developed by the Government of Armenia, the situation around Gaza and Armenia’s approaches for the settlement of the conflict as well as Armenia’s relations with Russia, the EU and the U.S.

The whole interview is presented below.   

Question: Let’s talk about the relations with Azerbaijan. What is the situation now, after the developments around Nagorno-Karabakh?

Answer: Well you probably know that we are engaging in a peace process with Azerbaijan and the Armenian side truly believes that there is a real momentum for the establishment of lasting peace in our region based on certain principles, for instance, the mutual recognition of territorial integrity. The Prime Minister of Armenia and the President of Azerbaijan have publicly reassured, we confirmed several times that mutual recognition of the territorial integrity between the countries should take place based on the 1991 Alma-Ata Declaration and the further delimitation process of the border between the two countries also should take place on the basis of Alma-Ata Declaration. To put the long story short, this is basically a document which was signed by eleven former Soviet Union Socialist Republics in 1991, and in this document, these Republics stated that former administrative borders between Socialist Republics are now recognized as internationally recognized borders between already independent countries. Basically, we have the border and mutual recognition of the territorial integrity and delimitation based on the Alma-Ata Declaration, this means that borders existed in 1991 they should be reproduced on the ground now, and interestingly, just recently the heads of respective border commissions of the two countries, the Deputy Prime Ministers of both countries, came to an agreement that delimitation should take place according to the Alma-Ata Declaration and the Rules of Procedures of the delimitation also should refer to this Declaration. This is one of the principles, and if we succeed in having the reference to the Alma-Ata Declaration as a political basis for the delimitation, as a political basis for the mutual recognition of territorial integrity in the draft of the peace treaty over which we negotiate, then we can say that we are very close to the final settlement.

Question: Is there an obstacle in the process of delimitation and implementation of the agreed principles? Is there an obstacle to finalizing these agreements in order to reach the full normalization of relations?

Answer։ The problem is that despite the fact that our leaders have numerous times reconfirmed the mutual recognition of territorial integrity based on the Alma-Ata Declaration, which I just mentioned, we see that our neighbors are still reluctant to make concrete and strong reference to the Alma-Ata Declaration in the draft of the peace treaty, a more comprehensive document which is going to be signed by the two countries. So as I said, as soon as we come to an agreement on this issue in the context of a peace agreement, we will get very close. 

There are a couple of other issues, for instance, the unblocking of the regional transport infrastructure, which is also being discussed. In this context it is important to know that Armenia is not only ready but is interested in becoming a part of international transit routes that is why our Government came up with the initiative of  “Crossroads of Peace”: we believe that if this unblocking takes place, it will not only be beneficial in terms of economic prosperity for the countries of the region but also will become a significant factor of peace in the region. So we are ready to unblock all the regional transport infrastructure, mainly with Azerbaijan, but also with Turkey, understanding that this project will help to connect East to West, North to South, and if this is implemented this will be another interesting way to connect the Gulf countries with Black Sea economic region. According to this concept, unblocking should take place with the full respect of the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the countries, but also according to the principles of equality and reciprocity.

Question: Is Yerevan, at this stage, reviewing its relations, alliances, and affiliations with certain regional or international formats? Is membership in the European Union and NATO on Armenia's agenda?

Answer: You know that during a recent couple of years, there were several incursions into the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia, and we are a member of CSTO: Collective Security Treaty Organization, the mission of which is to protect the sovereign territories and the borders of the member states. So when we had these invasions we did not see proper action from the Organization in which we are. And we should also remember that the CSTO is also a political-military alliance which, as I said, is called to protect the borders of the member states. The absence of a proper reaction raised several questions in Armenian society, and we don’t want to be a part of a mechanism that does not work. We are still a member of the CSTO, but we should work on making sure that all the mechanisms which are prescribed work, and there is a need for that. 

Question: Therefore, does it assume different relations with Russia?

Answer: There are some issues and some questions in the context of the Armenian-Russian relations, and yes, we have a dialogue over these issues. Among them, there are issues on which we need a mutual complete understanding, but I believe there are issues in all relations. But also with the democratic reform agenda and making sure that we have a proper level of stability along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, we are in the middle of the process of deepening our relations with some other countries, with the European Union, with the United States of America: they are our main partners in terms of democratic reforms, but also economic diversification, etc. Now, it is already the second year that the presence of the EU Civilian Monitoring Mission along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border is one of the significant factors in this situation.

Question: Mr. Mirzoyan, the Israeli war in Gaza has been going on for about six months. How does Yerevan follow this war, what are its consequences?

Answer: We are strongly against targeting civilians, we have faced a similar situation in Nagorno-Karabakh when more than 100.000 Armenians had to flee their ancestral homeland to save the lives of their family members, so we stand strongly against targeting the civilian population. Just recently we sent some humanitarian assistance to help to ease the situation and the suffering of the people who found themselves in the similar situation. But in general, we have always supported a peaceful resolution of the conflict, but also the two-state solution for the long-standing conflict and the Palestinian issue. Besides that, we are ready to preserve the cultural and spiritual heritage, particularly when it comes to the written heritage we have a famous and world-known depositary for the manuscripts so we can temporarily host the manuscripts, if there is a need, from the conflict zone, preserve them and then return when everything is settled.

Question: Mr. Mirzoyan, you sent humanitarian aid to Gaza, but what about Yerevan's approach to stopping the ongoing war and making some proposals about it? Do you discuss it in certain international circles?

Answer: We are lobbying for a peaceful settlement and the end of hostilities, and if official Yerevan can be of help in this context we are more than ready.

Print the page