Statement In response to the Address of H.E. Angelino Alfano, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy delivered by the Delegation of Armenia at the 1155th Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council


Mr. Chairperson,


We warmly welcome H.E. Agelino Alfano, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy and incoming Chairman in Office to the Permanent Council and thank him for the comprehensive and coherent address.

Mr. Minister,

Italy will shape the agenda of the cooperation in the OSCE in an uneasy time for European security. We agree with the assessment that the consensus rule is a strength and not weakness of the OSCE. But we also agree that we need to reinforce the cooperative environment of reaching consensus by putting forward very clear “No Harm” principle. In our view, lack of consensus emanating from conflict perceptions of any participating State should not harm the Organization and its executive structures, something that we have recently seen in the closure of the OSCE Office in Yerevan despite strong willingness of the host country to continue the work of the OSCE Office under its mandate. 


We hope that the closure of the OSCE Office in Yerevan will remain the lowest point of cooperation in the OSCE, and with the consensus reached on the four key appointments our Organization will move forward towards greater cooperation and trust building.


Mr. Minister,


We took a positive note of the intention of the incoming Chairmanship to put protracted conflict high on its agenda.


We strongly maintain that protracted conflicts are not identical and cannot be approached by identical set of principles of settlement. However, we also believe that there are two key commonalities, which should be taken into account as well. First, use of force and violence are absolutely unacceptable. All protracted conflicts passed through a cycle of violence and any new emerging cycle will diminish the possibility of a negotiated and peaceful outcome and thus, change of status quo. Second, OSCE needs to be well presented on the ground in conflict situations.


That being said, let me refer to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Armenia strongly supports the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs aimed at resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on three principles of non-use of force or threat of the use of force, equal rights and self-determination of peoples and territorial integrity, and five statements delivered on behalf of the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairing countries.


We welcome the intention of the incoming Chairmanship to support the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. In this regard, we also value the statement delivered by Italy at the Permanent Council once Italy was declared as 2018 OSCE Chairmanship. Armenia will support concerted efforts of the Italian Chairmanship to strengthen the OSCE presence on the ground in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict area through increasing the monitoring capacities of the PRCiO and establishing an OSCE investigative mechanism of ceasefire violations.  We need more OSCE in Nagorno-Karabakh both for monitoring and verification, something that is envisaged in the agreements reached at the Vienna and St. Petersburg Summits and something that should be implemented.


Armenia shares Italy’s concerns on threats emanating from the OSCE neighboring region, particularly the Mediterranean and the Middle East. In this organization, Armenia strongly voiced out the plight of persecuted religious groups which were subject of atrocities perpetrated by terrorist entities such as ISIL and ANF.  We stand ready to bring our own perspective in future deliberations organized by the Italian Chairmanship in this regard.


Mr. Minister,


We took note of the strong emphasis that the Italian Chairmanship puts on Structured Dialogue. The dialogue on Arms Control regime and military transparency is at the heart of the OSCE, and we will continue to be an active part of the Structured Dialogue in line with the tasking of the Hamburg Ministerial Council.


Economic and Environmental Dimension is a unique platform of trust-building among participating States and we will explore the ways of inclusive cooperation and building confidence with other OSCE participating States under the theme suggested by the Italian Chairmanship for the 26th Economic and Environmental Forum.


We subscribe to the view that there is no safe societies without upholding fundamental freedoms and human rights. In our view, OSCE is well positioned to prevent gross and massive human rights violations, particularly those, which are criminalized under universal international instruments. Next year, the international community will mark the 70th anniversary of entering into force of the Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. In our view, OSCE as a regional organization should be a part of this important commemoration.


Finally, we would like to reconfirm our strong support to the OSCE field operations. Armenia stands ready to create conditions for the continuation of the engagement with the OSCE, including the implementation of the OSCE programmatic activities.


In conclusion, we would like to wish every success to you, Mr. Minister, in your future responsible mission.


Thank you.