Remarks and answers to the questions by Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan at the joint press conference with EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn29 January, 2019
Good day, dear colleagues!
First of all, I apologize for a little delay. We had quite an interesting and extensive discussion with Commissioner Johannes Hahn. I would like to once again express my gratitude and thank Commissioner Hahn for his visit as well as for the conversation and dialogue we held during these hours.
Commissioner Hahn already had an opportunity to meet with President Armen Sargsyan and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. We also had a very practical discussion with the participation of Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan, which was followed by tete-a-tete talks on all the issues concerning our current stage of the Armenia-EU common agenda. Once again we emphasized the importance we attach to our relations, to those fundamental, main causes and values underpinning the basis of our relations with the European Union. We highlighted the legal foundation of our current relations - the CEPA, which remains a rather essential legal instrument. With this regard, we evaluated the dynamics of our implementation of this process and programs envisaged for the coming months, so we can efficiently continue to implement the process related to the CEPA.
We also touched upon the process of launching visa liberalization dialogue and steps need to be undertaken in that regard. We discussed different, quite precise initiatives which will help us in implementing the government program and our priorities. At the same time those initiatives will help us to use the CEPA tools and the priorities envisaged in our agreement to bring to life the priorities of Armenia by exploiting the tools of cooperation and initiatives outlined within the framework of cooperation with the European Union.
We also touched upon a number of regional issues.
In general, this is a continuous process.
We have a clear programme of our dialogue and contacts for the coming months, which we will indeed present more precisely after the dates will be fixed. Moreover, in March we are planning to continue the high-level dialogue.
This year is going to be very significant, because it marks the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership. Accordingly, a high-level event will be held in Brussels, in May, to mark this important anniversary, which also serves as a platform for our dialogue.
I am confident that the Q&A session will allow us to elaborate more on the questions you are interested in.
Once again I would like you to thank you, Mr. Hahn. Welcome to Armenia. The floor is yours. Thank you.
Armenia TV. My question is addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Minister, do you plan to have a meeting with Elmar Mammadyarov on the margins of the Munich Security Conference in February and can we expect the fourth informal meeting in Aliyev-Pashinyan format during thоse days?
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Thank you for the question. I am planning to be in Munich and I understand that my counterpart, Elmar Mammadyarov, will be in Munich, as well. I can’t confirm if the Prime Minister will be in Munich. In this regard we held meetings in Paris and later in Davos, which were very important. Based on those meetings, we are helding consultations with the Co-Chairs on how to move forward. Nothing should be excluded. Traditionally we make an announcement ahead of the meetings, while trying to do it in a coordinated way. It is obvious that we are moving forward. Concerning the dates and other issues; of course, we are trying to act in a coordinated and synchronized way, and respectively inform our societies.
Yerkir Media: From time to time, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs issue statements about preparing population for peace. Yesterday you also clarified that those statements are aimed at reducing tension and risks. I want to draw your attention to an announcement. Yesterday the President of Azerbaijan in his statement said, I quote, “our growing potential and military-economic power of the country, our today’s position in the world works in our favour, and today our country's position in the negotiation process is strong.” Aliyev always spoke about so called territorial integrity and said that “Azerbaijan will not accept the occupation of territories,” and also stated that “Azerbaijan has already demonstrated its military power in the battlefield.” It sounds like an indirect threat. How would you comment on the statement made by the President of Azerbaijan? It appears that you, the Co-Chairs and the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan assess the negotiation process as effective, but how can this rhetoric and the thesis of peace be on the same trace?
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Thank you. I will repeat what I had a chance to tell your colleagues: our positions and stance, as well as our confidence in our position and stance have been and remain very high. In other words, you are bringing forward a question mentioning that the concept that results should be achieved in the respective environment, that the respective environment is useful for helding practical work towards the peace process, is being violated.
Your example, did you say it was yesterday? It’s a pity. Our positions are more than clear to all of you, are more than know to all of you. You know our approach to both the status and the security. Let me repeat, the decision about the status should be made by the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. The issue of security means the current existing system, which ensures the comprehensive security. This is the reality. I repeat again, I do not need to say how much determination and capacity we have to defend both Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
We have that determination, and we do not need to come forward and repeat it every time. We know our capacity to protect and to inflict damage. But it’s not our goal. Yesterday while responding to one of the questions I spoke about the catastrophe; you do understand what it is about, don’t you? I will repeat: it is about the consequences, but not the lack of determination. We know our capabilities, but we want to resolve this process peacefully. That's why it is very important to have such an environment to achieve a progress in the process. Frankly speaking, I haven’t seen the statement you mentioned and don’t know in which way it was made, but such path is not welcomed.
We can respond, we can use the same kind of rhetoric, as well. Using such rhetoric won’t increase our determination. We have our capacities, which express the abilities, the strength we have to defend ourselves, to protect the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and enough power to inflict damage. This means the consequences, which, I am convinced are not desirable, which are worse than a peaceful settlement of the process. This is the way.