Nalbandian Says Azerbaijan Hinders Peace Process

Foreign Minister Nalbandian briefs reporters on Monday

YEREVAN—Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian told reporters Monday that Azerbaijan continues to hinder the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution by preventing the processes adopted for the effort to move forward.

Nalbandian was briefing reporters on Armenia’s foreign policy achievements in 2011 and asked to present reason why an agreement to investigate incidents on the border of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan was not being implemented.

“Concerning the incidents on the line of contact… So far it has not been realized yet, because in fact the Azerbaijani side prevents the implementation of the mechanism and prevents the proposals made by the [OSCE Minsk Group] Co-chairs for the creation of mechanisms because of that. The Azerbaijani side voices that such agreements have not been reached at all, such proposals have not been made,” explained the foreign minister.

“Recently, in December, the Azerbaijani side isolated itself once again, speaking out against the international community. When the OSCE budget was being discussed, and the Co-chairs suggested to provide appropriate funding for the establishment of this mechanism, Azerbaijan came out against, and when it got no support, it even threatened to veto the entire OSCE budget,” added Nalbandian.

“Once again, the Azeris have shown how they refuse and backtrack from those agreements, which had been reached with their participation,” explained Nalbandian. “I hope that the talks will continue and this proposal, highly appreciated by everyone, which may be an important mechanism not only for the purposes of investigations, but also in terms of preventing new incidents, will be implemented.”

Nalbandian also confirmed recent media reports that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will mediate another round of talks between Armenian and Azeri presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev.

In a report that preceded the reporters’ questions Nalbandian asserted that in 2011 Armenia’s foreign policy positions were further harmonized with those of the international community, citing its posturing on Karabakh and the protocols as examples.

“Regarding the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, 2011 reaffirmed the harmony of the positions of Armenia and the international community registered in the recent years, and the developments that took place stressed the correctness and effectiveness of the chosen course. The statement adopted during the meeting of the Heads of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in Sochi on March 5, the joint statement of the Presidents of Russia, the United States and France issued in the frames of the G8 in Deauville on May 26, and the meeting of the Presidents of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in Kazan on June 24, as well as the joint statement of the Heads of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Azerbaijan made in the meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Vilnius on December 6 were the poof of it,” explained Nalbandian.

He also discussed the current bill in the French Senate, which if passed would criminalize the denial of the Armenia Genocide in that country.

“Allow me to say that Armenia, on the highest level, has expressed its appreciation to the leadership of France, the French National Assembly and the people of France, when the French National Assembly passed the said bill. Now this bill is included in the agenda of the Senate,” said Nalbandian calling Turkish arguments against the adoption of the bill “at the very least, vain.”

“When they are saying that this process or this bill can prevent and hinder the normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations, first of all, it has nothing to do with one another and the second, if there is anything hindering the normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations, it is the behavior of the Turkish side which is well known to the international community and that is why it is said that the ball is in the Turkish court,” added Nalbandian.

The foreign minister said the Turkey’s threats to halt business with France stink of corruption. “It is not only blackmail, but they want to bribe with something.”

Nalbandian explained that “the draft of this bill is passed pursuant to the framework decision made by the Council of the European Council on November 28 of 2008. And I don’t think that universal human values can be underrated by the Turkish side’s arguments.”

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