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STATEMENT in Response to the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, to the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and to the Head of the OSCE High Level Planning Group

08.11.2018

 

STATEMENT

in Response to the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, to the Personal Representative of the

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and to the Head of the OSCE High Level Planning Group

 

as delivered by Ambassador Arman Kirakossian, Permanent Representative of

Armenia at the 1200th Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council

November 08, 2018

 

Mr. Chairperson,

 

We warmly welcome the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Ambassadors Igor Popov, Stephane Visconti and Andrew Schofer, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk and Head of the HLPG, Colonel Vladimir Minarik to the Permanent Council and thank them for their comprehensive reports.

 

At the outset, we wish to express our appreciation for the work done by the Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship aimed at addressing all aspects of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict throughout this year. 2018 marked an important anniversary. Thirty years ago on February 20, 1988 the local parliament of the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region adopted a decision by which it requested both then-Soviet Armenia and Soviet Azerbaijan to show understanding towards the will and aspiration of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh and agree on the transfer of the region from Azerbaijan to Armenia. Unfortunately, this bid for self-determination was responded not by understanding and dialogue, but by violence, deportations, abolishment of the status, war and atrocities. Since then security became important element of the conflict resolution. In three decades, the conflict underwent through different stages and got evolved in different international contexts.

 

Yet its essence remains unchanged as it entails the status of Nagorno-Karabakh and security of its people.

 

The appeal to democracy and human rights has never been as strong as today among Armenians, as, in this spring the people of Armenia achieved peaceful and democratic transition, which will be eventually channeled into the upcoming December elections.

 

The new authorities of Armenia, who have been leading this democratic transition, clearly outlined their main approaches to the conflict resolution. These approaches have been communicated publicly and shared also with the Co-Chairs on various occasions and most recently during their last week trip to the region.

 

Thus, I would like to refer to some points in this regard.

 

First, the status and security of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh are key issues of the conflict  resolution and absolute priority of the Republic of Armenia.

 

Second, the people and authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh should have a decisive role in conflict resolution. The attempts to objectify Nagorno-Karabakh and its people contradict not only the origin of the conflict, to which I have already made a reference, but to the facts on the ground today. Nagorno-

Karabakh is not a no man’s land. It is populated by its indigenous people who constituted absolute majority in all stages of the conflict. Without strong involvement of elected representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh any search for durable peace will not be genuine. The role of the NK authorities is essential in all fields of their competence and jurisdiction on the ground.

 

Third, Armenia continues to strongly support the efforts of the Co-Chair Countries France, Russia and

the United States to assist the sides to reach peaceful resolution of the conflict.

 

Fourth, we reiterate that there is no military solution to the conflict. The military paradigm of the conflict should be entirely overcome. The April 2016 military offensive undermined the peace process.

The current positive dynamic emanating from the recent meetings and Dushanbe commitment should

be followed by further implementation of already agreed confidence and security building measures in

the framework of the summits of Vienna, St. Petersburg and Geneva.

 

Along with setting up direct communication links, the strengthening of the OSCE presence on the ground in conflict area remains critically important. The OSCE engagement through the expansion of

the PRCiO capacities and establishment of an OSCE investigative mechanism into ceasefire violations

is vital for consolidation of the ceasefire.

 

Fifth, creation of environment conducive for peace requires not only reducing tensions and setting up

mechanisms for monitoring and verification, but preparation of people for peace. Hostile rhetoric and

maximalist stances casting doubt on the very possibility of compromise nurture animosity not peace. At the end of the day, it is the peoples of Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan who are eventually destined to accept outcomes of any peace process put forward by their political leaders. They should be able to make their voices heard through strong democratic institutions.

 

Mr. Chairperson,

 

We welcome activities of Ambassador Kasprzyk and his able team on the ground, aimed at consolidating the ceasefire regime and promoting confidence-building measures between parties to the conflict. We are fully aware that limited human, financial and technical resources of the Office are a major obstacle for proper implementation of the mandate of the PRCiO. However, the PRCiO Office,

as the only international permanent presence in the conflict area and the only OSCE presence in South

Caucasus plays an important role in reducing tensions along the Line of Contact and state border.

 

We would like to reiterate our position in regard to the composition of the High Level Planning Group,

which may affect neutrality and impartiality, as well as efficiency of its activities. The HLPG and all

its members should be able to treat all parties to the conflict in equal manner without kinship or other

affiliations.

 

Thank you.