VIENNA (Mediamax)—Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said Thursday that judging by a report published by Freedom House on “Freedom in the World in 2015,” Arstakh is far ahead of Azerbaijan in terms of fundamental freedoms.
Nalbandian was speaking at a special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council.
“On May 3, 2015 the people of Nagorno-Karabakh for the sixth time will exercise their democratic right to elect members to the National Assembly,” Nalbandian told the Council. “The democratic processes in Nagorno-Karabakh are not meant to influence the peace process or anyhow add to its international recognition, as was referred by some participating states also here at one of the last Permanent Council meetings. Building of democracy based on fundamental human rights and freedoms anywhere in the world should only be welcomed by other democratic members of the international community.”
Recalling the Freedom House report and taking into account the current human rights situation in Azerbaijan, Nalbandian said that “it does not come as a surprise when Baku criticizes elections in Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Nalbandian started his speech at the Permanent Council, however, by speaking about h Armenian Genocide and its approaching centennial anniversary.
“Back in May 1915 the governments of France, Great Britain and Russia characterized the Armenian massacres as ‘crimes against humanity and civilization.’ This was one of the first occasions of the use of the term ‘crimes against humanity’ on an international level, leading to its elaboration as an inherent concept of the international legal system,” Nalbandian said.
“For the contemporaries of the Armenian Genocide it might really sound as a miracle that the Armenian nation could survive and re-establish its statehood. It is therefore truly symbolic on this centenary to address you as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of one of the 57 participating states of this organization.
“As a nation, which passed through the horrors of genocide, Armenia is a firm advocate of the international efforts of prevention of crimes against humanity. One of the most effective measures in this regard is the full and frank acknowledgment of past genocides. That is why states must not subordinate this noble cause to any geopolitical calculation. The OSCE is also well placed to address the issue, since the adherence to its principles and commitments can vastly contribute to the Genocide prevention efforts.
“Remembrance dates should be approached by genuine will of peace and reconciliation. It is with this aim that the Armenian President invited his Turkish counterpart to participate in the commemoration of the genocide centenary on April 24th in Yerevan. I personally handed over the invitation to President Erdogan in Ankara. It is regrettable that our invitation was left unanswered, constituting yet another missed opportunity.”
Nalbandian also condemned the Islamic State, lamenting the extremist group’s destruction of an important Armenian Genocide memorial in Deir el-Zor, numerous Armenian churches, and other historic and cultural monuments.
Nalbandian linked the destruction of historic national artifacts to the destruction of Armenian cross stones in Nakhijevan by Azerbaijan, calling it cultural and historic revisionism.
In his final remarks, Nalbandian condemned Azerbaijan’s continuing violations of the cease fire regime in Artsakh and restated Armenia’s commitment to resolving the conflict within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group.