Opening remarks by Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan at the session of the CIS Foreign Ministers Council

12 May, 2020

Dear Colleagues, 

First, I cordially welcome all of you and would like to once again extend my congratulations on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of our common victory in the Great Patriotic War - one of the bloodiest wars in the history of mankind.

May 9th is a sacred date for our peoples, who at the expense of great losses made a decisive contribution to the defeat of fascism.

The anti-Hitler coalition made its significant contribution to the fight against fascism.

Preserving the memory of victims, remembering real reasons which led to the threat of the establishment of the Nazi supremacy even today oblige us to jointly resist the attempts of glorifying nazism and fascism, spreading the ideology of warmongering nationalism and xenophobia.

Once again I congratulate all of us on this great Day.

Dear Abdulaziz Kamilov,

I express my sincere gratitude for Your initiative to hold this session, which is, in fact, the first event of the CIS statutory body within the framework of Uzbekistan’s presidency in the Organization which was marked with result oriented and comprehensive programs.

The pandemic indeed brings changes both at global and national levels, including in regard with the activities of the CIS and its bodies.

As of today in total 3538 new cases of COVID-19 are detected in Armenia, with 1430 recovered and, unfortunately, 47 fatal cases.

On March 16, a state of emergency was declared in Armenia, which since May 4 has been eased to a certain extent. Almost every type of economic activity is allowed, with the proviso that employers provide appropriate working conditions to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

The society in Armenia is gradually adapting to life amid the pandemic, and our Government has already launched 17 support programs aimed at reducing the negative consequences of the pandemic, estimated at approximately half billion USD.

Coming back to the topic of today’s session.

We have no objections to the agreed issues and are ready to support them. However, I would like to add a few words. The list of suggested issues can be divided into two groups.  

The first group includes issues that are less affected by the dynamics of the spread of COVID-19. In our view, an interesting project "Cultural Capital" is among them. The right of its implementation in 2022 will be transferred to the Kyrgyz city of Karakol. I would add to that group the draft agreements regulating the cooperation between the defense Ministries of the interested states in such spheres as humanitarian demining, joint (united) communication system, update of the list of the units, also the one presented by the Armenian side, which will be included in the structure of divisions of border service and other agencies of the CIS participating states aimed at addressing (eliminate) crisis situations at external borders.

These are important directions and documents of interstate cooperation.

By the way, while analyzing the volume of documents adopted over the past two decades within the CIS in these areas, one realizes that the signatories are the countries, which in practice have proven their willingness to cooperate more closely in these areas, not only within the CIS, but also in more advanced formats involving five or six states.

Moreover, the work within those integration frameworks has gone even further, and perhaps consideration of concentrating efforts within those frameworks will be viewed as more reasonable.

Regarding the second group of issues on our agenda, it includes issues which can be addressed only by taking into account the factor of the pandemic.

Those include the cooperation strategies outlining steps aimed at international youth cooperation, collaboration in the spheres of physical culture and sport, tourism, network university and culture.

Principally, these documents were developed in line with ensuring continuity of previously adopted similar decisions and did not take into account that we would use remote ways of cooperation in the near future. I assume that this factor will be reflected and taken into account by the relevant CIS bodies of sectoral cooperation during elaborating med-term implementation programs.

The coordinated actions of the countries in this difficult period, including the actions aimed at preventing COVID-19, are more than necessary. Within the format of the Organization and based on its legal framework developed over the years, it is necessary to focus not just on economy, but also on its innovative component and take into account the new realities, to advance cultural and humanitarian cooperation, cooperation in youth policy, tourism, science and others.

And finally, dear Abdulaziz Hafiz, I have to respond to the issue raised by my colleague, Mr. Mammadyarov, related to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is being discussed within the format of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship.

I have no intention to take long to speak about this subject; we continue intensively to work within that format. The peaceful settlement has no alternative, we have a clear objective to continue the practical work, we have been implementing this practical work for two years and we intend to continue in the future. The threat or use of force are rejected, and the wording used here today is strictly unacceptable.

The settlement of the conflict is based on the principle of compromise. It also means the rejection of the maximalist positions of one of the sides and the parity of commitments that the parties will undertake for balanced, solid compromise.

We will continue to work with this approach aimed at exclusively peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Once again I express my gratitude to you, Abdulaziz Kamilov, for your initiative and the opportunity of holding today’s session. I also want to express my gratitude to Sergey Lebedev for his productive work and for organizing our work throughout this entire period. I truly appreciate that.

Thank you.

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