YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—In an interview with Artsakhpress news, press secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Ani Sargsyan discussed the decision of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to adopt what both Armenia and Artsakh consider to be an anti-Armenian report.
Entitled “Escalation of Violence in Nagorno-Karabakh and Other Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan” by Robert Walter (United Kingdom, EC), a rapporteur of the PACE committee, Sargsyan considers the report biased.
When asked how she assesses the committee’s approval of the draft resolution based on Robert Walter’s report, Sargsyan said that, “it is regrettable that the draft resolution, based on a one-sided and biased report by Robert Walter, was approved. We consider the approach of the PACE Rapporteur, who took the position of only one party to the conflict in the preparation of the report, unacceptable, instead of giving an unbiased and neutral assessment of the situation, and set forth all the propaganda of the Azerbaijani side.”
Sargsyan continues, saying that by, “initiating the preparation of the PACE report on the escalation of violence on the line of contact, Azerbaijan aims to undermine the peace initiatives of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmen, in particular, to justify its rejection of the mediators’ proposals on the establishment of mechanisms for the investigation of the ceasefire violations.”
“We have repeatedly pointed to the populist and counterproductive nature of the Azerbaijani attempts to introduce military and political issues in the agenda of the PACE, which has neither the relevant tools nor expertise to deal with such issues,” Sargsyan said.
“Without questioning the genuine interest of the PACE in preventing the escalation of tensions in the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict zone, we believe that the best and most constructive contribution would be for PACE to join the existing consensus of the international community in supporting the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs aimed at ensuring stability and predictability on the line of contact.”
Meanwhile, Davit Babayan, spokesperson for Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan, said at a press conference today via video conference that the approval of the report by PACE smells of caviar and oil.
“We are not offended by Azerbaijan, as we expected such behavior on their part. We are sorry that the immunity of an organization like PACE has weakened and corrupt practices invaded it. When PACE calls on releasing the criminals, who invaded the territory of the Artsakh Republic, ruthlessly killing people, towards whom [a] transparent case was carried, without speaking a word about Safarov, Armenophobia in Azerbaijan, [or] political persecution, it becomes clear that PACE has gradually turned into [a] Baku market stall where one can trade and buy a document contradicting European values,” Babayan said, Armenpress reports.
According to Babayan, Armenian delegates said on numerous occasions that they were ready to cooperate during the process of the creation of various reports, but only if Azerbaijan was reasonable.
“It is obvious that the report was made in Azerbaijan and it is natural that it would not have been accepted by the Artsakh Republic with such a title, though we sent messages that we would assist the process in case the content of the document was reconsidered. We invited them to Artsakh to meet anyone they wanted but in order to do that, they will have to change their approach,” Babayan said, adding that he was convinced that the report had been a special order by Azerbaijan and was not subject to any changes.
Babayan also added that Roberts has business interests in Azerbaijan.
In July, Asbarez reported that Walter had received Turkish citizenship. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu personally handed Walter his new Turkish ID card at the Turkish Embassy in London. Walter, who is married to a Turkish woman, reportedly expressed delight over his new dual citizenship.
Speaking to Tert.am, Arzik Mkhitaryan, chairperson of the Artsakh National Assembly’s Committee on Foreign Relations, described the decision to include the document in the PACE’s upcoming session as a political venture reflecting Azerbaijan’s “caviar diplomacy.”
“Azerbaijan always wishes to pave the way to everything inhuman through bribes. And the same is going on now,” she said.
Commenting on Co-Chair James Warlick’s statement calling upon the PACE and other international organizations to consult with the OSCE Minsk Group before issuing any report or resolution on Karabakh, Mkhitaryan said she fully agrees with Warlick.
“It is important to consider the Minsk Group’s opinion before preparing any bill on Artsakh. If the British parliamentarian had met with the Minsk Group, he would have an objective report instead of such a document full of cynical remarks. No one from Karabakh would wish to be on the territory of Azerbaijan,” Mkhitaryan noted.
She said she doesn’t think that the decision by an advisory body like the PACE is likely to have serious implications. She only hopes that there will be European parliamentarians who disagree with Walter’s statements.
In her words, the Armenian delegation to the PACE was somewhat passive, and that more effective work would have prevented the report from being approved.
“We do not expect a major hazard from this and do not feel intimidated at all. It is just necessary to do more than Azerbaijan does, although we cannot opt for bribes and fraudulence, following them,” she said.