The press statement of the Foreign Minister of Armenia Ara Aivazian for the media representatives during the press conference following the meeting with Foteign Minister of France Jean-Yves Le Drian08 December, 2020
Dear Mr Le Drian,
I am glad to be in the capital of friendly France, in Paris today. I express my gratitude to my French colleague for the warm welcome.
I am gratified to note that today we had an effective and honest conversation on the most urgent issues on the agenda of the Armenian-French privileged relations. One of the key issues of the meeting, indeed, was the aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh with the active support of Turkey, as well as the difficult situation resulting from it. We exchanged views on solving the humanitarian issues following the war, the future of the peace process, steps being undertaken towards regional stability and security, as well as the protection of the centuries-old Armenian cultural heritage under the control of the Azerbaijani troops.
On behalf of the Republic of Armenia, I express my deep gratitude to my French counterpart for resolute and, at the same time, impartial position of France since the very beginning of the war. The statements of President Emanuel Macron were very important for us, where the latter clearly highlighted the aggressor and touched upon Turkey's extremely harmful and dangerous involvement in the war, as well as the transfer of jihadist terrorist fighters to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Foreign Minister Le Drian personally, for his involvement in the process of resolving the issue and assisting Armenia both during the difficult days of the war and after the ceasefire was established, as well as for the constructive work of the French diplomacy.
I would also like to express my gratitude to France for the humanitarian assistance provided to Armenia. In recent months, we have really felt the sincere support and compassion of the French people, state and public circles behind us. The vivid evidence of this is the above-mentioned facts, as well as the thousands of statements and press publications of the French intellectuals, representatives of the spheres of arts and culture, statesmen and politicians. In this context I would like also to recall the two journalists of “Le Monde” daily, who were seriously injured in Artsakh while performing their professional duty. I wish them a speedy recovery.
During the meeting with my French counterpart we discussed in detail the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. I presented Armenia's concerns, including the issues of safe and dignified return of the Armenian population who left Artsakh during the war, immediate exchange of prisoners of war and return of the bodies of those killed.
The manifestations of the inhuman treatment of the Armenian prisoners of war and captured civilians by the Azerbaijani servicemen, who receive public support instead of being condemned by the Azerbaijani leadership. Many Armenian medieval cultural and religious monuments in the Azerbaijani-occupied territories of Artsakh, which Azerbaijan is either trying to destroy, desecrate or change their identity are a target of this Armenophobic manifestations. We exchanged views on the preservation of those religious and cultural heritage through the international organizations.
I presented to my colleague Armenia's position on the further process of the negotiations. I stressed the importance of recognizing the status of Artsakh based on the realization of the people of Artsakh to self-determination. In this regard, the recent resolutions of the French Senate and the National Assembly expressing the public mood in France on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue were indeed strong signals to the international community.
During the meeting, we discussed together our concerns over Turkey's dangerous, irresponsible actions in the South Caucasus, as well as in other regions.
We have also touched upon the prospects of deepening the close Armenian-French political dialogue and cooperation programs.
Concluding my speech, I would like to emphasize that I would be very glad to host my colleague Jean-Yves Le Drian in Yerevan to continue the effective Armenian-French dialogue on the issues of the agenda.
Question: Mr Le Drian, the statement of November 9 was aimed at ceasing the hostilities and you have also mentioned that it is necessary to resume negotiations within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, particularly for defining the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. How do the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs conceive the realization of the right to self-determination of the people of Artsakh taking into account the issue that it is the only Madrid principle not addressed yet. Mr Aivazian can you also comment on the right to self-determination?
Ara Aivazian: Look, the right to self-determination has been one of the pillars of the peace process, and it cannot be removed from the agenda through the use of the military force. Azerbaijan and Turkey by launching a military aggression against Artsakh’s self-determination, have violated their international obligations, and Azerbaijan violated its commitments also towards the peace process. Since September 27, the international community has had a new reconsidered perceptions because the international community has realized that the Nagorno-Karabakh issue is not just a territorial dispute. And in all parts of Artsakh under Azerbaijan’s control ethnic cleansing and war crimes were carried out, which once again prove the need to address the recognition of right to self-determination of the people of Artsakh. Only in that case, it seems possible to achieve a lasting and fair peace, and only then can one think of a new era and peaceful existence in the South Caucasus.
That is it, thank you.