Briefing of Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan after the National Assembly session

05 November, 2020

Question: Regarding the Armenian-Russian consultations, at what stage is that support?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: In this respect all necessary steps are being undertaken. At the moment I can not publicize any details however everything needed is being done based on the legal framework of our relations, the functions deriving from it.

Question: Is the treaty of 1997 the only one or are there more treaties of different years being discussed at this moment․ Is it only the treaty of 1997?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: The treaty of 1997 is the foundational framework outlining also other functions, expressed in other documents that you have mentioned.

Question: Mr. Minister, you met with your Azerbaijani counterpart three times, trying to reach a ceasefire, but it was violated thrice. Have you talked to him? What is the reason? Have you discussed those issues?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Let me remind you more. The leaders of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries have made a direct contribution to achieving a ceasefire thrice. The Co-Chair countries have invested serious potential in it thrice. Armenia has been seriously involved and ensured its approval thrice. However, Azerbaijan violated the agreement thrice, because most probably Azerbaijan is being directed by another player - Turkey. We even had a situation when Azerbaijan was unable to be committed to the implementation of its own agreements.

It does not mean that we will stop working to establish a ceasefire together with the Co-Chairs.

It is based on the four points expressed in the joint statement of October 10. As you know, they have been reiterated during the other meetings as well: we will continue to work consistently in that direction.

Question: How does Jeyhun Bayramov explain those violations and the fact that they are not able to fulfill their obligations, and is there any guarantee?

Zohrab Mnatsakanayan: One of the important issues here is the introduction of verification mechanisms. The introduction of verification mechanisms will enable us to implement this function more effectively. The work is being done today in that direction and we need to achieve it. In this regard, the involvement, determination and work of the Co-Chairs remain very important.

Question: Lavrov proposes the introduction of a hotline, as well as the presence of observers in order to actually maintain the ceasefire regime. How do you assess the possibility of that now?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Let me repeat it again: we are talking about the introduction of a verification mechanism, which is one of our priorities today. I cannot say that we have already achieved that, but this is the most important issue so that we can implement the first two points of the joint statement of October 10.

Question. Is there a question on our agenda to apply to the CSTO?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: We do what we assess. And we have implemented our function based on this assessment. We will continue to do as we assess.

Question: Is there a complex to apply to the CSTO or not? Because at least two CSTO member states - Belarus and Kazakhstan, are immediate economic partners with Azerbaijan. Is official Yerevan concerned that if it applies to the CSTO, they will refuse to ensure Armenia's security in accordance with the charter of the treaty?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Let me repeat it again that your question may be a topic of deep analysis, separate long discussions and seminars. But the simple and clear answer is as I expressed a moment ago: we take our steps as we see it necessary in terms of efficiency and speed.

Question: Mr. Babajanyan, an independent Member of Parliament, stated in an interview with "Factor" TV that in his opinion, and, of course, in the end he formulated it as a conviction based on the conclusion from his recent meetings with high-ranking officials, that Armenia does not apply to the CSTO, as my colleague mentioned, based on the fact that an agreement was reached between the Armenian and Russian authorities not to apply to the CSTO and refrain from that step.

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: We are in touch with Mr. Babajanyan, we work, we discuss many issues, we will continue to do it together.

Question: Is the Pashinyan-Aliyev meeting being discussed at the moment?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: I cannot say that the Pashinyan-Aliyev meeting is planned at the moment. If it is being planned, of course, I will say.

Question: What about the meeting at the level of foreign ministers?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: That as well. You know that the last meeting was in Geneva. In that regard work is done on a daily basis and our work with the Co-Chairs continues at all levels based on the necessity. Everything is situational, of course, I should repeat, in those situational developments we pursue very clear goals. These clear goals are expressed in four points of the October 10 statement.

Question: Do you expect the US role to be changed in some way following the presidential election?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: I can say that the role and involvement of the United States was very active. And I have the conviction to state that this active engagement will continue.

Qyestion: After elections, as well?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Yes, of course. We are confident that our work with the United States, as one of the Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, will continue and their role will remain active regardless of the situation, as it is active in case of Russia and France. I am sure you have all noticed that the involvement of the Co-Chair countries is at the highest level.

Question: Mr. Minister, excuse me, once again going back to the issue of consultations, when will we see the results?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: When we see the results, I am sure you will be the first to know.

Question: How long will the Armenian-Russian consultations last, and when will the Armenian side start its participation? At which level the Armenian authorities are represented in those consultations?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Our consultations continue. I can not say more at this moment.

Question: Did they launch just after the letter of the Prime Minister.

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: We work with the three Co-Chairs, we work with the three countries individually with all capacities. We have applied all our means in the toolkit throughout this period since the first day. The utilization of each new component is based on a relevant decision and will continue to do so.

Question: Mr. Minister, are there any processes launched in the aftermath of the Prime Minister's letter or not? Let us put it in this way.

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: I have already answered that question.

Question: Mr. Minister, it is already known that Turkey is the one who fuels the situation, does the international community consider it necessary to take actions against Turkey now? In other words, will there be any moves against that country to restrain its role?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: It is a very important issue for us to restrain the aggressive and destabilizing policy that has been projected in our region as well and directly against us. In this regard, of course, we will continue to work with all our interested partners, who are concerned about this situation, which is very destabilizing and is immediately felt in our region, it is immediately manifested in aggression against us. Regarding the terrorist fighters, this topic is more acute and has become a reality in our region. We will continue to fight against this phenomenon through international cooperation, which is already taking place.

Question: Is there any possibility to neutralize these unfortunate resolutions in the UN, because now it is clear from this attack that the existing zones, which the international community considers part of Azerbaijan, are legitimate needs.

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: We have clear goals and there are certain tools for that. Appropriate steps will be taken in both the UN and other institutions as needed. But I repeat, the most important thing is to serve what is there.

Question: Mr. Minister, Russia says that they will intervene when the situation and hostilities shift to the Armenian side. We see that the village of Davit Bek is being shelled, there are also victims.

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Decisions are made based on the assessment of the situation.

Question: Now there are concerns in the society that you regularly claim that you will act in accordance with the assessment of the situation, but in the Syunik region, as you know, the situation is already tense, there is some tension in the direction of Vardenis as well. Why don’t you consider it appropriate to formally apply to the CSTO, for example?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: We are acting based on necessity and evaluations, in terms of efficiency. Everything is done according to the evaluation and through the consulting mechanisms.

Question: In other words, it is not effective to apply, because at this moment ...

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: At the moment, the Republic of Armenia performs all the functions that need to be performed now.

Question: Do the authorities of Armenia need additional resources? In any case, several groups are appealing to the Prime Minister to use the support of the previous authorities, at least at the consultative level, and talks on forming headquarters are constantly emerging. In this regard, did you have a necessity to apply to your former colleagues, have you already done that, Mr. Mnatsakanyan?

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Here again, I will not provide a comprehensive answer to that. Everything is done as considered necessary to address our national goals.

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