Briefing of Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan to the Artsakh media

17 September, 2018

Question: Minister, what is the agenda of your visit to Artsakh, what meetings did you have?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: It is among our functions to always maintain our consultations and cooperation active. It is of great significance for us because it is an opportunity to evaluate together the current situation, to consult jointly and outline all the steps that we are taking together. This is a joint work. The settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict first of all concerns Nagorno-Karabakh, and the final decision and decisive voice in this issue belongs to Artsakh. And without consultations, without working together, we can not make any serious progress. This was the primary purpose of the visit. This is a permanent process, the part of the ongoing process.

I am very grateful to the President of the Republic, Mr. Sahakyan and my colleague, Foreign Minister Mailyan. I have also had an opportunity to hold meeting in the National Assembly. During all these meetings we discussed the current important issues in terms of coordination. In my opinion, the results are very clear. I am thankful that we were able to clarify and enrich our views and our assessments.

Of course, I have had an opportunity to congratulate the President of the Republic, my colleagues on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of declaration of independence of Artsakh. Our colleagues in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also marked the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Ministry. This was another occasion for congratulating our colleagues.

Within the framework of the visit, I will also have an opportunity to meet and talk to the people of Artsakh, especially the youth. You know, that for all of us Nagorno Karabakh is not a conflict, Nagorno-Karabakh means people. Artsakh people, to be exact the 150 thousand people, with their names, everyday life, their families, their concerns, their hopes, their goals, as every other nation, create their future, their lives.

I would like to specifically emphasize the fact that when we talk about the security and the status of Artsakh as priority issues for us, we mean the people. I am looking forward to that meeting when I will have an opportunity to meet the young people, the new generation of Artsakh, to feel myself, to see with my own eyes how they create their future.

Question: Minister, taking the opportunity, would you please tell about your attitude towards the  upcoming military drills, especially since the potential enemy, according to Azerbaijan, will be Armenia.

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: We consistently underline that if we are seriously moving towards peaceful settlement, and for all of us it is an exclusively peaceful settlement, exclusively through negotiations and exclusively within the framework of the Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship, these important factors in practical terms are subject to real implementation when we work towards creating an environment conducive to peace. What happened in this period does not in any way contribute to the creation of such an environment, both in terms of rhetoric and, especially so, in terms of action. It is condemnable and unacceptable, when we have signs of tension, when we have targeting of civilians. Naturally, this is unacceptable.

We have clearly stated that both Armenia and Artsakh are capable of defending, but this is not our goal. We should avoid any crisis, avoid the situation that simply can bring this region to a disaster, in which case no one will either win or lose. This should be understood very clearly. It is unacceptable and reprehensible, and it seriously damages the peace process.

Question: Minister, have the details of your meeting with your Azeri counterpart been already clarified?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: We stay committed to a negotiated peace process within the framework of the format adopted by the international community, which is the Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship. Yes, this is an ongoing process, it is going to take place. I have already mentioned once, and I will repeat, that I respect the rules of working in such a process, and one of the rules is about announcing in a coordinated manner of the date, time and the venue of the meeting. Be assured that all this will be done in a coordinated way and certainly will be available to everyone. Thank you.

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