Remarks by the Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan at the Eastern Partnership Foreign Affairs Ministerial Meeting15 November, 2021
Mr. High Representative,
Mr. State Secretary,
I am really glad that we are finally able to meet in person after the lengthy Covid-19 restrictions. We are also looking forward to the upcoming summit, where the heads of our states and governments will have the opportunity to discuss the future of the EaP, in which, I am confident we all are very much interested.
I would be glad to deliver my speech on development agenda of Armenia and EU and its member states, go into the details of implementation of the Armenia-EU CEPA agreement (Comprehensive and enhanced partnership agreement), that entered into force on March 1, 2021, highlight the importance of our signed agreements with Europol and Horizon Europe, Common Aviation agreement signed just an hour ago, cooperation with Creative Europe and Eurojust, other important scopes of cooperation, share success stories of Armenia in the fields of fight against corruption, strengthening democratic institutions, consolidating rule of law, speak about parliamentary elections in Armenia that were recognized as democratic, free and transparent by respected international observation missions. I would reaffirm Armenia’s position on the future of Eastern Partnership and commitment for further merit-based cooperation, but the circumstances in which this meeting is taking place I barely can call regular, as Armenian people and democracy are under constant threat of use of force since at least September 2020.
In defiance of UN Secretary General's call for Global ceasefire Azerbaijan unleashed military aggression against people of Nagorno-Karabakh, seriously undermining the situation in the region. Moreover they tried to create a dangerous precedent of an attempt to resolve protracted conflicts in Europe through massive use of force and involvement of foreign terrorist fighters and mercenaries from the Middle East and North Africa. Breaking three agreements of ceasefire Azerbaijan finally agreed to stop the hostilities with the Trilateral statement of November 9.
And yet the situation in the region remains fragile. Security and realities cannot be built on the basis of massive human rights violations, thousands of lost human lives, casualties, displacements and disruption of international peace process. The use of force against the people, who are aspiring to implement their basic rights, including the right for free and secure life and the right to self determination, does not resolve the conflict. And all the statements by official Baku that Nagorno-Karabakh conflict does not exist any more do not correspond to reality as the very root of the conflict is not addressed. We firmly believe that the conflict should find its political resolution under the auspices and within the mandate of OSCE Minsk group Co-Chairmanship.
I call all the partners that are interested in a comprehensive settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to express unconditional and full support to the peace process with the OSCE Minsk group Co-Chairmanship.
I want to reiterate that Armenia is ready to reach long-lasting peace and stability in the South Caucasus. However, peace cannot be achieved by the good will of one party alone. It is difficult to imagine lasting peace in the region with so-called “Trophy park” in Baku, with continued hate speech and xenophobia by the high officials of Azerbaijan, with continued imprisonment of Armenian POWs and other detainees, many cases of enforced disappearances, with continued infiltration and presence of Azerbaijani troops into sovereign territory of Armenia, the last attempt of which occurred just yesterday. As much as Armenia expresses its readiness for de-escalation, Azerbaijan continues provocations in Nagorno-Karabakh and in the Armenian-Azerbaijani borders inflicting casualties among civilians. As much as Armenia calls for opening of regional communication, Azerbaijan continues to demand a so-called “corridor”.
In the beginning Azerbaijan was conditioning the release of Armenian POWs with obtaining minefields maps. And when Armenia proposed to provide all maps in anticipation of the release of all captives, Azerbaijan stepped back, questioning the credibility of the maps. Azerbaijan continues to put a siege on Nagorno-Karabakh impeding the access of the international humanitarian organizations including those who requested a fact-finding mission to determine the state of cultural heritage.
Generic calls on both sides under the circumstances when Armenia makes credible steps towards peace, while Azerbaijan continues the escalation of the situation, may indicate indifference and lack of commitment from our international partners.
If you want to support us to reach stability in the region then there is no other way than being frank on these issues and communicating to us your vision of human rights and use of force in our region without applying double standards. We stand ready to be a genuine partner with the European Union in this regard.