Press conference of the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan at the Armenian Unified infocenter18 July, 2020
Public TV: Mrs. Naghdalyan, recently, the representatives of the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan visited Turkey, and the Turkish side announced that its military industry is at Azerbaijan’s disposal. Moreover, the information was circulated stating that Turkish military aircraft has landed in Azerbaijan, apparently transferring military equipment. How does Armenia react to such a step by Turkey?
Anna Naghdalyan: I must note that the Foreign Ministry of Armenia has already reacted by issuing respective statements on the actions and stance of Turkey concerning Nagorno-Karabakh peace process in general and the recent escalation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. And let me also note that the last statement received a nervous reaction from the Foreign Ministry of Turkey.
I would like to underscore that Turkey cannot play any role, moreover, have a “historical mission” neither in the conflict, nor in the region. Turkey has already left the mark of genocide in the region, and the first action that the Turkish side must take is to address its consequences. We urge Turkey to deal with that process instead of enthusiastically getting involved in new anti-Armenian initiatives.
We attach more importance to the constructive position of our international partners in this process, which is first of all aimed at the reduction of escalation.
Public TV: Does the Minister of Defense Davit Tonoyan plan to have a phone conversation with his counterpart regarding the Russian military exercises in the southern region? And, was the Armenian side informed about bringing the Russian 102nd Military Base to the “high” readiness?
Anna Naghdalyan: As for the phone conversation, I do not have such information. I want to note that if the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Armenia Davit Tonoyan had any contacts or telephone conversations with the Russian military representatives, particularly with his Russian counterpart, the Armenian or Russian side would have informed about it.
As for the involvement of the Russian 102nd Military Base and bringing it to a “high” readiness in the framework of the unexpected military exercises in the southern and western military districts of Russian Federation, I do not have a detailed information, however, in the framework of relevant agreements, the Armenian side is informed about it, and I believe that at this stage it is enough.
Azatutyun TV: Mrs. Naghdalyan, I have two questions. I am sure you are aware that today, in one of the largest trading centers in Moscow, the trading activity of the people of Armenian origin has been prohibited. We speak about the Food City. Many assessed this as a fascist step. I want to understand the main steps that the Foreign Ministry of Armenia is currently undertaking so that the rights of the Armenians in our ally country are not violated?
Secondly, are you aware of the CSTO Secretariat’s commentary on the hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which in fact called on both sides to adhere to the ceasefire, even though Armenia is the CSTO member and was attacked by Azerbaijan, as official Yerevan claims? My question is the following: what’s the assessment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia infer regarding this comment? Thank you.
Anna Naghdalyan: Thank you. Regarding the first question, I would like to say that the Embassy of Armenia in Russia and relevant ministry in Armenia are working coordinated to address those issues. I will refrain from assessing or commenting on such actions, as currently the primary objective of the Foreign Ministry is to address and find solutions to those issues.
Referring to the second question: in the current situation it was important for Armenia to first provide information on the situation of the border to its CSTO partners, which was done at the session of the CSTO Permanent Council, where our Representative gave remarks and presented the situation on the ground.
Regarding the statement of the CSTO Secretariat you mentioned, I would like to underscore that it fully expressed our concerns at this moment. The statement clearly indicated that this escalation was taking place at the CSTO area of responsibility. We fully control the situation on the border, and so far there is no need to apply to the CSTO within the framework of mutual assistance or in any other format.
Public TV: Mrs. Naghdalyan, I wonder why the reaction of the international community is delayed concerning Baku’s adventurism and adventurous statements?
Anna Naghdalyan: You know, I accept your assessment and your opinion, however I do not have to share it.
First of all, I would like to mention that there was an unequivocal assessment by our international partners, meaning both partner countries and international organizations about these events. This assessment was about the de-escalation and establishment of stability on the ground. And this is why I do not agree with your assessment. We are working with our partners. The Minister is in round-the-clock contact with his numerous counterparts and had more numerous phone calls with them. Since 12 July, our diplomatic missions abroad are working to convey the operative information to our partners. And that is why we have an unambiguous assessment of the international community, except for a few cases where it is mentioned that immediate steps must be taken to reduce the tensions and establish stability.
Sputnik Armenia: The Russian side confirmed that a number of steps have been taken to reduce the tensions. What steps are they speaking about? Is there a new Russian initiative aimed at resolving the issue?
Anna Naghdalyan: Let me note that the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and particularly the Co-Chair of Russia have been involved. As I have mentioned, the Minister was in constant contact with his Russian counterpart. There were also contacts at the military level. Due to working restrictions, I can only provide this information.
Our main priority at this stage is to stop the escalation and restore stability, without which the peace process is undermined.
Sputnik Armenia: The Defense Ministry of Artsakh had shut down an UAV. Has the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs been informed about that? Are they going to visit the region?
Anna Naghdalyan: The communication with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs is permanent, they are provided with operative information on the current processes and developments in the region.
As for the Co Chairs’ visit to the region: their visits were cancelled due to the situation caused by the pandemic and we are hopeful that after the soon settlement of the situation and resumption of flights it will be possible to carry out visits in such a format.
Aysor.am: According to the information provided by Mr. Hovhannisyan, one of the unmanned aerial vehicles downed during the war was of Israeli production. What would be the strategy in our relations with Israel?
Anna Naghdalyan: I would note that we view this issue in the broader context: the arms sales in the region and the promotion of arms race by different international partners. Let me note that we are very consistent on this topic and it is a very sensitive issue for the Foreign Ministry of Armenia. This issue is being raised in both bilateral and multilateral formats.
The issue is that arms trade to Azerbaijan is fatal, because Azerbaijan never hesitates to use those weapons against civilian infrastructure, the civilian population, and the events, which took place after July 12, have quite enriched our factual evidence on that.
We will consistently pursue this issue, it will always be an integral part of our agenda both on bilateral and multilateral platforms.
Aysor.am: Has the direct line which has been established as a result of an agreement between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2018 been functioning ?
Anna Naghdalyan: I should note that the direct line is in place, but taking into account that the last escalation of the situation has been large-scale and of deliberate nature, we preferred to work via mediators instead.
Question: It seems that Azerbaijan attempts to present the international community that Armenia threatens the energy security of Europe. Do our European partners voice similar concerns?
Anna Naghdalyan: I should mention that none of our partners did apply to Armenia with such concerns. In this regard, I have to emphasize, these actions, concerns or accusations that Azerbaijan voices are exclusively manipulative, since Azerbaijan attempts to use force on one hand, and attempts to present itself and its gas pipelines as a victim, on the other hand.
Armenia is always against the war. Armenia always acts from the position of consolidating the ceasefire, and is always ready to take steps to strengthen the ceasefire in various sectors.
Question: Azerbaijan has a newly appointed Foreign Minister. What do you think, will the change of the Foreign Minister anyhow affect the negotiation process?
Anna Naghdalyan: We took note that the Minister of Education of Azerbaijan currently assumed the position of the Foreign Minister. However, we proceed from the fact that the foreign policy in Azerbaijan is shaped by its highest leadership. In this regard the Armenian side negotiates not with individuals but with the representatives of Azerbaijan’s current authorities.
ArmenPress: The Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan today spoke about the establishment of an international monitoring system for observing the ceasefire, however, currently even the works of border monitoring, headed by the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office are suspended. When will they be restored?
Anna Naghdalyan: I would like to note that we also attach importance to restoring the monitoring actions on the ground as soon as possible, as the recent events demonstrated the great importance of carrying out such monitoring actions on the ground. However, it is necessary for us not only to restore the existing monitoring works of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, but also to expand that mission. And the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs also underscored the fact that the monitoring actions must be resumed. However, I must note that the suspension of that work is due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the region and in the world.
Question: What is the official reaction of Iran and Georgia regarding this situation?
Anna Naghdalyan: The official position of these two countries have been expressed and reiterated on numerous occasions during these days and it’s been posted on their official websites, so I would refrain from presenting them here.
News.am: What is Armenia’s position on Azerbaijan's threat to launch a missile attack at the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant? Does Armenia plan to undertake any steps in this regard?
Anna Naghdalyan: Today, the Foreign Ministry of Armenia announced that Armen Papikyan, the representative of Armenia in international organizations in Vienna, already met with the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and presented the situation on the escalation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border since July 12. He also touched upon the threats of Azerbaijan against Armenia.
We consider those threats as a state and nuclear terrorism, as well as the expression of genocidal intentions of Azerbaijan. I would like to add one point: on the one hand, Azerbaijan expresses concern on the safety of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, saying that it is located in a seismic zone and is decrepit etc, and on the other hand, Azerbaijan threatens to destroy it itself. This once again underscores that the so-called concerns of Azerbaijan in the region are of anti-Armenian nature only.