Remarks and answers to the questions of journalists of Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan at the joint press conference with Rodolfo Nin Novoa, the Foreign Minister of Uruguay14 August, 2019
Good day, dear colleagues,
I am truly happy to welcome my counterpart, Rodolfo Nin Novoa, the Foreign Minister of Uruguay. My colleague is in Armenia on an official visit. This visit complements the rather active dynamics of political dialogue and political contacts between Armenia and Uruguay. This is an ongoing process.
Uruguay is a very important and reliable partner for Armenia, and, as you know, Armenia, every Armenian has a special emotional connection to Uruguay. This is a country that recognized the Armenian Genocide back in 1965 and later, in 2004, Uruguay further strengthened that recognition through the additional legislative acts.
Our interstate relations with Uruguay are based on our shared priority - to promote our shared values of democracy, human rights protection and peace. In this respect, we cooperate very actively on international fora. Armenia and Uruguay have very strong partnerships on various international platforms, primarily in the UN.
Uruguay has been and remains an important supporter of Armenia's efforts aimed at international agenda on genocide prevention.
During our dialogue today, we had an opportunity to touch upon many issues of our bilateral relations. We reiterated the necessity to continue the active political dialogue, highlighted the role of the Armenian community in Uruguay, which also serves as an important bridge in the relations between the two states. Our community counts about twenty thousand people. They are not merely dedicated citizens of Uruguay and participate in the country's socio-economic, political, cultural, scientific life, but also remain true to their identity as Armenians.
We stressed the importance of actively maintaining relations and contacts at the parliamentary level. As you are aware, we have a friendship group headed by the MP Vladimir Vardanyan and we intend to continue working in that direction.
We also highlighted the importance of strengthening collaboration in all other areas - economic, scientific, cultural, educational. We have so much to offer to each other, and in this regard, I suggested working together to create appropriate platforms for the rapprochement of direct actors. The logic behind the socio-economic development of our countries matches up. And in that sense, despite the great distance dividing us, we cannot fail to see the existing important potential for further deepening our relations.
Naturally, we discussed various issues on the international agenda. I had the opportunity to present in detail the approaches and rationale of Armenia`s position in the process of peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I reiterated that the issue of security of the people of Artsakh, our compatriots, as well as the issue of the status deriving from it, have been and remain among our top priorities. I noted that the relevant environment conducive to the advancement of the peace process has been and remains an important issue, and I elaborated on the meaning of “no alternative to the peaceful settlement”. And I'm so grateful to my counterpart for the insights he shared with me on this issue.
We also touched on many other issues: I presented the foreign policy priorities of Armenia in different directions, our cooperation, our work in different organizations, integration processes, and I also learned about Uruguay's priorities in integration processes, which is also a framework for joint work on a bilateral agenda. We reaffirmed that these important relations we have, the dialogue we have, are consistent.
We're going to have a very exciting event this week. The Consulate General of Uruguay will open in Yerevan. I am very grateful that during our meeting in New York, my counterpart informed me about their intention to establish a diplomatic presence in Yerevan. And it didn’t take long. This week we will have a new diplomatic representation of our friendly country Uruguay in Armenia.
I will conclude with this. Dear Rudolfo, once again welcome to Armenia and thank you for the comprehensive dialogue. The floor is yours.
Armenia TV: Minister, two days ago Azerbaijan has published the photos of the Armenian serviceman bearing signs of torture who had appeared in their territory.
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Thank you for the question. This is a very delicate issue, and in this regard, the Foreign Ministry of Artsakh has already issued a statement. If you remember, it was noted that the Artsakh authorities spare no effort for returning prisoner of war Arayik Ghazaryan to the country. Considering the sensitivity, I think I will limit myself within that statement.
Azatutyun: Thank you. I have two questions for you Minister. Regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, is there any news about the negotiations? Are there any meetings with your Azerbaijani counterpart in the near future, or what new meetings are scheduled between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan? Because there has been no news about it for a long time. And the second question. As we understand, in September, the Prime Minister of Armenia will leave for the United States. I remember after Nikol Pashinyan's election as Prime Minister there were a lot of talks about meeting with the US president. What bilateral Armenian-American meetings are planned, not only at the level of the leaders but in general?
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Thank you for your question. In fact, it seems like we have had enough chances to talk about the dynamics of negotiations. Remember, the last meeting was held two months ago, in June. Before that, it was held in April, before that, in March, before that, in January, and these dynamics are continuous. In fact, I have had a chance to confirm that there is a continuation of this, and we have never protracted the dynamics: we have remained quite active and have no intention of changing our approach. As for the scheduled meetings, I have to ask you again, be patient, because I find it very principled that the meeting is announced when it is agreed with the Co-Chairs and the other side. But I can assure you that this process is ongoing.
Regarding your second question, I would suggest you pay attention to the activeness of the political dialogue between Armenia and the US, in this period. You understand and know the United States system very well, and in this respect, this continuity and level of dialogue during this year are in principle sufficient for us. Regarding the meeting at the level of leaders, it has been and remains on our agenda, I’m sure that the day will come. But even if we evaluate the current dynamics, we will see what meetings there were and at what levels and with what frequency. In this respect, we have had no shortage of high-level political dialogue with the United States this year. And this is also continuous, with ongoing plans ahead of us on how we will work.
We have a lot of agenda issues, some problematic issues that refer to our next steps, but this is normal in the sense that these are the relations between the two partners. These issues are always discussed within the frameworks of both international and bilateral agendas, and we are always working on these issues. Our Embassies work very actively, and at the level of political contacts, at the level of the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, and at many other levels, if you evaluate the level and with whom the meetings were held, I hope you will agree that we have had no problems to discuss our issues at the highest level. This is a continuous process, not a separate one. This is the logic within which we work.
Sputnik Armenia: Nikol Pashinyan's statement in Stepanakert that Artsakh is Armenia, was received very furiously in Azerbaijan and also received a fierce response. The Foreign Ministries also participated, with answers from both sides. Will this statement in any way affect the negotiation process, given Azerbaijan's response? Can they try to change the format? Or in your opinion, can it have any impact on the negotiation process? Thank you.
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. In my opinion, we were the ones to respond first. The Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia has made the position of Armenia very clear, there is nothing new to add. All of that was said in Stepanakert. The statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also reaffirmed what was said in Stepanakert. I'm sure there is no need for me to re-read the statement we made on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I can add that we have no intention of deviating in any way from those positions, approaches that refer to the peaceful settlement and the commitment to exclusively peaceful resolution of the issue.
News.am: Minister, my question is addressed to you. Rather, they may be interrelated questions. Will US assistance to Artsakh, as far as we all understand, be diminished? And secondly. Yesterday sanctions against two Armenian organizations were announced. As far as I understand, it's still a draft, but if it is possible…
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Thank you. Regarding your second question, I cannot answer it yet, because I still haven’t observed it myself. I need to work with my colleagues to understand it clearly.
As for your first question, this is in principle an annual budget negotiation agenda between the US administration, the House of Representatives and the Senate, and this is also the agenda of our dialogue with the United States. In this respect, we are still in the process, working on these issues. Taking into consideration how the administration system works internally, this process takes place every year. For us, this is a very important point of our dialogue at all levels that I have mentioned in answering a question of your colleague from the Armenian Service of Radio Liberty. This is a very actively discussed issue. Thank you.