Foreign Minister Ara Aivazian answers to the questions of the Members of the National Assembly of Armenia during the Q&A session with the Government20 January, 2021
Tatevik Hayraperyan: Recently, the Azerbaijani side has repeatedly stated that Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has in fact been resolved. Aliyev made his regular Armenophobic speech in Shushi, saying that those in Armenia who think about taking revenge will encounter the "iron fist".
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued several statements, nevertheless, I would like you to once again underline the position of the Ministry, and specify the priorities of our Foreign Ministry regarding the peace process.
Ara Aivazian: Honorable Speaker of the National Assembly, dear Members of Parliament, thank you Mrs. Hayrapetyan for your question. As you noted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made several statements regarding the issue you’ve raised: particularly, I will mention the Spokesperson's comment on the provocative and offensive statements of the President Aliyev in Shushi, which we condemn. We believe that these statements do not contribute to the establishment of security and peace in the region.
Mr. Aliyev’s statements are contradictory, as on the one hand he states that the conflict is resolved, while, on the other hand, making provocative and inflammatory statements, which proves that the conflict has probably entered a new stage, where the Armenian sides need to create a common agenda.
In this regard, I think that my recent visit to Artsakh was very important, where we discussed the need to shape a common agenda and to combine and coordinate our work.
As for our priorities: we have already voiced them. First of all, the Armenian side is ready to start negotiations within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship and negotiate on the fundamental principles on which an agreement was previously reached.
Second, de-occupation is a priority for us, and in this regard, the safe return of the Armenians to the places of their residence.
Third, the unimpeded provision of humanitarian assistance to Artsakh by the international community, particularly by international organizations.
And the fourth - the preservation of our cultural and religious heritage.
As for the recent statements regarding Shushi: it is an Armenian cultural center, I want to say once again, regardless of who declares what, we will not agree with the claims that Shushi might become aTurkic cultural center. I am confident that we will receive the support of the international community in this regard. Thank you.
Tatevik Hayraperyan: I also wanted to speak about that as well, Mr. Minister, because you spoke about the preservation of cultural heritage. Recently, the Turkic world puts forward claims towards Shushi.
Today, I also received information that even after the decision of the ECHR to apply an interim measure in connection with one of our prisoners of war, the Azerbaijani side was taking a step, in fact, depriving the right to life. In other words, Azerbaijan is obviously violating the decisions made by the organizations in its regard, and this position is quite destructive in the post-war period, and it is important that you could name the priorities we have in this situation. Thank you.
Ara Aivazian: Naturally, the issue of prisoners of war is one of the highest priority issues for us, and that incident, the tragedy that you mentioned, once again shows that Azerbaijan is pursuing a fake agenda in terms of peace, development and reconciliation in the region. We show the world through diplomatic channels that Azerbaijan is not ready for peace. To talk about peace, first of all, we need to create an environment of trust-building. We have not seen such steps so far.
Narek Mkrtchyan: Mr. Minister, last year Armenia joined the International Religious Freedom Alliance, which gave a floor to various comments in the context of Armenia-China relations, including inside this hall as well. Throughout the war, when Azerbaijan allowed multiple encroachments against the Armenian religious values, the alliance did not respond. I would like to understand the policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs towards the position of that alliance.
Ara Aivazian: Thank You for the question. I think that the war is an important turning point for us in the context of analysis, so that we can make appropriate adjustments in our foreign policy, not only on the issue you mentioned. The only thing I can tell you today is that the security of the state has been and remains the most important issue for our foreign policy, as it used to be. And based on that, as well as on ensuring our state and national interests, we will make realistically assessed and pragmatic decisions. And the organization you mentioned was not the only one. We are seriously analyzing, making appropriate corrections in our foreign policy.
Narek Mkrtchyan: Mr. Minister, in fact, the member states of that alliance had the right to speak on behalf of this alliance, to condemn any encroachment against religious values. Moreover, at the online ministerial meeting of the alliance, the Ambassador of Armenia to the United States called for condemnation, but again there was no particular response. I want to understand whether it is possible to consider the expediency of further membership in that alliance.
Ara Aivazian: I have already said that we seriously analyze the stance of each organization, country and region during the war and we will make appropriate corrections. They will be aimed at strengthening our national security within the framework of state and national interests.