YEREVAN (Combined Sources) — On Tuesday, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian discussed several factors regarding foreign affairs including the anti-Armenian reports at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), conditions of the Karabakh conflict, and Armenia’s relations with its neighbors.
Nalbandian noted that the two anti-Armenian repots at PACE prove how Azerbaijan is working against both Armenia and the OSCE Minks Group. He added their Azerbaijan’s approach completely contradicts the actions of all the mediating parties thus far.
Summing up the activities of the past year, Nalbandian said “Armenia, in cooperation with the OSCE Minsk Group, maintained efforts towards the peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict.” At the same time, he blamed Azerbaijan for the frequent violations of the ceasefire regime and the use of heavy weapons.
“It was an attempt by Azerbaijan to take the Karabakh issue from the Minsk Group format to a different platform, thus causing damage to the settlement process. This is not the first time Azerbaijan is trying to use the PACE podium for taking the issue into a different direction,” Nalbandian said.
Representatives of Nagorno Karabakh must participate in the negotiation process as well as the settlement of Artsakh. The presidents of the Minsk Group Co-chair countries have stated about this several times, especially the Russia’s Foreign Minister who spoke about it recently.
The foreign minister even touched upon Armenia’s relations with Turkey. It is hard to find logic in Turkish diplomacy and rhetoric, Nalbandian explained when discussing whether the settlement of Artsakh is necessary for Armenian-Turkey relations. “There is nothing new in this statement. The strange thing is that Armenia has not put forward preconditions in Armenia-Turkey relations but Turkey, as heir of the Ottoman Empire which committed the Genocide, puts forward preconditions,” Nalbandian said.
He noted that by such actions, Turkey cannot develop cooperation not only with Armenia but also with other countries.
Armenia’s efforts for international recognition and condemning the Armenian Genocide as well as preventing new crimes against humanity will be continuative, Nalbandian added during the press conference.
“There are various anniversaries: 50 years ago, Armenian Genocide was one of the dark pages in the history of mankind during the 50th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Today, we can say that Armenian Genocide got world recognition due to joint and collective efforts which Armenian people took during these years. Consistent work will not stop neither before nor after the anniversaries,” the foreign minister mentioned
Nalbandian emphasized that thousands of exhibitions were organized during the Armenian Genocide Centennial in Armenia and in various parts of the world.
Nalbandian stated that the most significant achievement in foreign affairs in 2015 was the Iran deal. “The lifting of sanctions against Iran will boost the development of Armenian-Iranian relations,” he said.
As for the willingness of Iran to assume a mediating role in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, Minister Nalbandian noted that “the lack of progress in the talks is not because of ‘bad’ mediators, but because of lack of will on the part of Azerbaijan.”
In addition to Iran, relations with Russia are also a key element in the foreign policy of Armenia, added Nalbandian.
“Strengthening the allied, strategic partnership with Russia is high on Armenia’s foreign policy agenda,” he said. Nalbandian recalled that in 2015 the presidents of the two countries had held about a dozen meetings in the bilateral and multilateral formats.
Nalbandian reminded that during the meetings, the presidents reached a number of agreements of strategic importance in the political, military and technical, science and education, cultural and other areas.
Lastly, the foreign minister added that the membership in the Eurasian Economic Union as of January 2014 “stemmed from Armenia’s strategic interests” and “opened up new opportunities for the country’s economic development.” Besides, Armenia assumed the chairmanship of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in September 2015. The country “continues to act as an initiator and active participant in this association,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.