Remarks of Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan and answers to the questions of journalists during a joint press conference with Foreign Minister of Germany Annalena Baerbock07 February, 2023
On February 7, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan, who is in Berlin on a working visit, had a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany Annalena Baerbock. The meeting was followed by the joint press conference of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Germany. In his remarks Minister Mirzoyan particularly noted:
First of all, I would like to thank my colleague Analena Berbock for the warm welcome and fruitful discussions.
But before turning to our agenda, I would also like to express my condolences regarding the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. I would like to express my condolences to the families of the victims and wish speedy recovery to those injured..
I would like to mention that despite all the complexity of relations and realities, the Republic of Armenia extended its helping hand and expressed its readiness to provide humanitarian support to both Turkey and Syria.
As a nation that has seen a devastating earthquake in our territory in 1988, it is important for us that no society is left alone during natural disasters.
I would like to state that today we commended the high level of the Armenia-Germany political dialogue, we have touched upon the expansion of bilateral cooperation based on democratic values and common perceptions, highlighted the importance of Germany's support for the large-scale democratic reforms taking place in Armenia, as well as discussed issues on active cooperation on multilateral platforms.
Certainly, we discussed issues of Armenian-German trade and economic cooperation, especially taking into consideration that Germany is our main trading partner in the EU and the German capital is represented in the Armenian economy. We should work to maintain the positive growth dynamics of the bilateral trade volume, attract investment and intensify business ties.
Undoubtedly, financial and technical cooperation also holds an important place on the bilateral agenda. In this regard, we highly appreciate the activities of the German agency GIZ and KFW Bank in Armenia.
In the context of boosting people-to-people contacts, certainly, Germany’s position is important for us in order to make progress at the launch of the dialogue on the Armenia-EU visa regime liberalisation.
Proceeding with the topic of Armenia-EU cooperation, I should note that important partnership expansion issues were on the agenda of our meeting, including the directions specified in the Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement and within the framework of the Eastern Partnership, and other platforms and formats where we collaborate.
Taking the opportunity, I would like to once again commend and express our gratitude to the European Union regarding the decision to deploy a new long-term Monitoring Mission in Armenia. We are confident that it will play a crucial role for the human security on the ground and stability in the region, as well as for timely and reliable presentation of the current situation to our partners in the EU and its member states.
Continuing the topic of regional security and stability, I should mention that today I briefed my colleague on the existential challenges and threats that both the Republic of Armenia and the people of Nagorno-Karabakh are facing now.
At this moment, when we speak, the 120,000 Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh live in a total blockade, cut off from the rest of the world. And this has been continuing for two months already. Can you imagine that for two months people are deprived of their fundamental right to free movement?
Right in front of the eyes of the entire world, Nagorno-Karabakh is facing a humanitarian crisis. Daily gas and electricity cuts in cold winter conditions, families on different sides of the blockade, children deprived of the right to education, malnutrition, human lives in need and not receiving necessary medical intervention.
All this is a consequence of the fact that Azerbaijan, distorting the global environmental agenda and flagrantly violating its commitments assumed by the Trilateral Statement of November 9, 2020, has blockaded the Lachin corridor, the only lifeline connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to the outside world.
The blockade of the Lachin corridor, as well as many other preceding aggressive actions of Azerbaijan, including the invasion of the sovereign territory of Armenia by Azerbaijani armed forces and the creation of unbearable conditions for life in Nagorno-Karabakh, pursue one goal: to force the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh to leave their homes and thereby depriving them of the right to live in their homeland. One cannot describe this other than a systematic policy of ethnic cleansing. This is Azerbaijan's response to the calls of the international community to address the issue of the rights and security of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.
In parallel, the consequences of the Azerbaijani aggression unleashed against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia in May and November 2021, as well as in September 2022, have not been eliminated yet. Violating the norms of international humanitarian law and the November 9 Trilateral Statement, Azerbaijan continues to hold Armenian prisoners of war and civilians as hostages, and the fate of many forcibly disappeared remains unknown. The destruction of the Armenian historical-cultural and religious heritage of Nagorno-Karabakh is ongoing in the territories fallen under the Azerbaijani control.
I would like to underline once again that despite all the hardships and challenges, some of which I named, advancing the peace agenda is our principle and strategy. In this context, we stress the importance of Germany's clear position as an advocate of democracy, human rights and universal values, and no less important, as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, in efforts towards establishing stability and peace in the region.
Thank you once again for the warm welcome and fruitful conversation. I am genuinely interested in continuing this dialogue to give a new impetus to the agenda of relations between the two countries, including through official mutual visits.
I had the honour of inviting Madame Minister to Armenia.
Question (RFE/RL): Mr. Mirzoyan, my second question is for you. A few days ago, you announced that the Armenian side presented new proposals to the Azerbaijani side regarding the draft peace treaty. What kind of offers are we speaking about and how new are they?
Ararat Mirzoyan: First of all, I want to note that the process of peace negotiations is an ongoing one, and Armenia is resolutely involved in these negotiations, and we aim to continue our active efforts in building a stable and lasting peace in our region. Let me inform you that another meeting between me and Minister Bayramov, as well as Minister Lavrov, was planned for December.
This time it was supposed to take place in Moscow, but as a result of the blockade of the Lachin corridor, the Armenian side postponed the participation, and despite this circumstance, we conveyed to the Azerbaijani side, as you quoted, our new proposals for a peace treaty. I should also inform that a few days ago we received the response and other proposals from Azerbaijan.
I repeat, this is an ongoing process, and we continue to work on the text exchanging proposals in different, multiple stages and continuing the discussion. This is very important to understand that even though the Lachine corridor is blocked, all other challenges remain, however, essentially the negotiation process is not at a standstill, the negotiations are ongoing.
Definitely, I should mention that the continuous, Armenophobic, warmongering rhetoric of Azerbaijan, the propaganda of hatred towards Armenians, as well as the aggressive actions on the ground, the continuous invasion into the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia, the occupation of our territories, the emergence of a humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, regardless of whether it is the Republic of Armenia or Nagorno-Karabakh, does not contribute to the successful and smoother course of these negotiations, not to mention that they pose impediments towards the process.
In any case, I want to reiterate that we are very determined and resolute on the peace agenda and we will continue our active efforts for lasting peace in the region.
Question (Deutsche Welle): I address my second question to Minister Mirzoyan. You stated that you offered support to Turkey. What have you offered?
Ararat Mirzoyan: Thank you for the question.
The Republic of Armenia is ready and is currently discussing the transfer of essential goods in the form of humanitarian aid to the earthquake-affected regions of Turkey and Syria, as well as the dispatch of rescue teams to relevant places to provide assistance on the ground. I want to repeat what I said in my opening remarks.
In 1988, in our territory, in the Republic of Armenia, we have witnessed how disastrous the consequences of the earthquake can be, and we were not alone then: we have received help from the international community. I think that we should also be ready to extend our helping hand to all the people who at that moment need that help as a result of natural disasters.
Since you asked about Turkey, I would also like to address the dialogue that is going on between our countries now. As you know, there is a dialogue about the opening of borders and the establishment of diplomatic relations.
I want to reiterate the readiness of the Republic of Armenia to be sincerely involved in this process and bring it to a logical and positive conclusion as quickly as possible. I would like to let you know that there is some progress. In our opinion, the process is a little slow, but it is still very positive as we have positive records on the ground.
You are probably aware that Turkey and Armenia recently decided to lift the ban on air cargo transportation. This is another positive step, and we hope that this process will continue faster and with more tangible achievements. In any case, on the part of the Republic of Armenia, I want to reaffirm our position regarding this issue to have a peaceful, cooperative and stable great region".