Speech of the Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan and Answers to the Questions of Journalists During the Press Conference with Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov08 April, 2022
Dear Sergey Viktorovich,
Dear colleagues, friends,
First of all, I would like to thank Sergey Viktorovich for the invitation to visit Moscow.
It is noteworthy that this year the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation celebrate two memorable dates: the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance. This is a good opportunity to summarize the results of our joint path, and to outline the landmarks for the further development of the Armenian-Russian allied relations.
Obviously, our discussions took place in this light. We discussed issues regarding our bilateral alliance, a wide range of international and regional agenda, and, of course, security issues first of all in our region and in the world in general, in the traditional open and trustful atmosphere.
We have both underlined that in recent decades, through joint efforts, the Armenian-Russian relations have reached the highest level of allied cooperation, which is distinguished with its stable strategic nature.
We paid special attention to our close cooperation within the framework of the CSTO, where Armenia currently holds the presidency, as well as in the EAEU, CIS and other international organizations. We commended the close partnership between the diplomatic missions of our countries, for the further promotion of which the two-year consultation plan between the Foreign Ministries was signed.
The Armenian-Russian cooperation in the defense, military-political and military-technical spheres holds a special place in the agenda of our relations. Therefore, we have paid due attention to the discussions on the implementation of high-level agreements in these spheres, exchanged views on topics, the implementation of which will serve to protect the interests of our countries.
We discussed the existing mechanisms for the further development of our strategic partnership in a positive light: the activities of the Intergovernmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation and Commission for Economic Cooperation, as well as the inter-parliamentary commission.
It should be emphasized that, naturally, the meetings and contacts at the highest levels, which are distinguished with their intensity, give corresponding dynamics to these processes. As you know, the official visit of the Prime Minister of Armenia to Russia is planned in the near future, to which, of course, we should properly prepare.
My visit is taking place in the conditions when the main topic of discussion of the top leadership of our countries is the situation in the South Caucasus, in Nagorno-Karabakh and around it, as well as on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. First of all, of course, those are the actions aimed at leading the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh to a humanitarian crisis. That is the "accident" of the pipelines in the area under the control of the Azerbaijani armed forces. Those are the consistent violations of the ceasefire regime, the last of which, in the background of other geopolitical events, was the invasion of the Azerbaijani armed forces on March 24 to the village Parukh in the zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping contingent. That is, of course, the constant utterance of "corridor topic", which has a negative impact on the process leading to the unblocking of all transport and economic communications in the region. That is the de facto blocking of the activities of international organizations in Nagorno-Karabakh. That is the refusal to withdraw the units of their armed forces that have penetrated into the territory of the Republic of Armenia. Of course, the most important part of our discussions today was devoted to these issues.
I would like to emphasize once again that Russia has played a key role in halting the Azerbaijani aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh. The deployment of Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh was intended to be a factor to prevent provocations, to create conditions for the security of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, and to restore normal life. We also highly appreciate Russia's ongoing mediation efforts, including within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship.
We also highly appreciate the efforts of the Russian Federation aimed at implementation of the agreements within the statements from November 9, 2020, January 11, 2021, and November 26, 2021. I would like to once again emphasize Armenia's commitment to the implementation of all agreements, among which the return of the prisoners of war and other detainees, the issue of preservation of historical and cultural heritage in the territories currently under Azerbaijani control and others are of great significance.
We assume that only through peaceful negotiations can a solution be reached that will bring peace and stability to the South Caucasus. Here we must emphasize our joint steps aimed at unblocking communications, establishing a commission on demarcation, as well as in all other areas.
I also presented the position of the Armenian side on starting negotiations on a peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In this regard, I restated the importance of the full-capacity work of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship in accordance with its mandate received by the international community.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Sergey Victorovich once again for the hospitality and exhaustive dialogue. And of course, Sergey Victorovich, we are waiting for you in Yerevan, at a convenient time for you.
Question. I would like to know your position on the further activities and priorities of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. When can we expect activation of the co-chairmanship works?
Also, as it is known, on March 24, Azerbaijan, ignoring the agreements reached by the Trilateral Statement, violated the line of contact and invaded the area of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh,particularly, into the village Parukh and its vicinity. Despite the calls of the Defense Ministry of Russia, and other international calls, the Azerbaijani forces have not yet returned to their starting positions. What steps are being undertaken by Russia to return the Azerbajani units to their starting positions, as well as to exclude such incidents in the future, especially taking into account the fact that due to the current situation, more than 400 people are unable to return to their homes?
Answer. First of all, about the invasion of Parukh village, the violation of the status quo and the Russian peacekeeping contingent: Armenia continues to believe that the Russian peacekeeping mission is able to restore the status quo and the situation as of March 23. As I mentioned, the peacekeeping forces have been deployed in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh to ensure the status quo of November 9, 2020, and the security of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. I repeat, we continue to believe that the status quo will be restored and that the Russian peacekeeping contingent will continue to perform its most important function, its most important mission, that is - ensuring and guaranteeing the security of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.
As for the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship, of course, the current geopolitical situation in the world has significantly complicated the work of the Co-Chairmanship. However, some other news are reaching me, given the very specific signals and information I have received from the Co-Chairs and from many other countries, I would like to confirm that although Azerbaijani counterparts reiterate that the Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship does not exist, that there is no issue for them to deal with, as there is no Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the region called Nagorno-Karabakh no longer exists, despite all this, the international community continues to see the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the mandate of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Charimansip, which, I shall say, is very encouraging.