Artsakh’s De-Occupation and Status Must be Priorities, Says Foreign Ministry

The delineation and demarcation of Armenia-Azerbaijan borders must be one part of a comprehensive settlement process, in which the issues of de-occupation of Artsakh’s territories and determining its final legal status of Artsakh must be prioritized, said Armenia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan on Friday at a press briefing.

By using or threatening force to impose conditions is a gross violation of international law, said Naghdalyan regarding the week-long standoff at the Armenian border in Syunik, where Azerbaijani forces breached and advance into Armenia’s sovereign territory and are refusing to leave. “Armenia will not give in to such pressures,” she said.

“By not fulfilling its commitments assumed by the November 9 trilateral statement, in particular those relating to the repatriation of Armenian prisoners of war and civilian captives and other humanitarian issues, Azerbaijan is again demonstrating its behavior of deliberately rejecting the international commitments,” added Naghdalyan.

“In such a situation the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Azerbaijani armed forces from Armenia’s sovereign territory to their initial positions of May 11 can create the necessary conditions to move forward with the political-diplomatic process,” explained Naghdalyan.

She also said that Armenia’s international partners are vested in the stability and security of the South Caucasus and have unequivocally expressed that “Azerbaijan must immediately and unconditionally pull back its troops from Armenia’s sovereign territory.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Ara Aivazyan chided the Council of Europe, in remarks made at the body’s general assembly on Friday, saying that the council’s response to “Azerbaijan’s obvious violations of its statutory and conventional obligations has not been adequate.”

He emphasized that lack of a strong response to massive and grave human rights violations in Nagorno-Karabakh has emboldened Azerbaijan further to project the same policy toward the Republic of Armenia by making attempts to seize border territories and deprive the local population of their livelihood.

“The Council of Europe was established with the aim of achieving greater unity among its Member States. And the Council has been successful in bringing almost the entirety of Europe under one roof and in devising legal standards guiding many aspects of the cooperation between its Member States. Yet, there is a great divide between some of our Member States. And while the perpetrators of atrocious crimes are allowed to be on equal footing with those who still believe in the values of democracy and human rights, this divide is only going to widen. Unless we reinvigorate our efforts in ensuring democratic security throughout Europe, and particularly for those living in areas of conflicts and confrontations, our overarching goal of greater unity in Europe would remain illusive,” said Aivazyan.

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