Armenia’s Foreign Minister says Minsk Group Co-chairs meeting in Ankara was ‘routine’
Ankara’s policy of unconditional support for Azerbaijan not only contradicts the status of Turkey as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, but also undermines the efforts of the international mediators to settle the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict, Artsakh’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday
The statement was made in reference to statements made by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who urged the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to ensure that any settlement of the conflict would be beneficial to Azerbaijan’s interests.
“Turkey is not impartial on the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict and cannot play a positive role. It is a fact that Turkey is an ally of Azerbaijan,” said the Artsakh foreign ministry. “Since 1988—the beginning of the Karabakh Movement—and throughout the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict, Turkey has supported Azerbaijan. Moreover, in April 2016, Turkey openly supported Azerbaijan’s military aggression unleashed against Artsakh, despite calls by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmen and, in general, the international community to immediately cease the hostilities.”
“The policy of Ankara on unconditional support for Azerbaijan not only contradicts the status of Turkey as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, but also undermines the efforts of the international mediators aimed at the final settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict,” added the Artsakh foreign ministry statement.
During a discussion on Wednesday in Armenia’s cabinet meeting, Yerevan’s top diplomat Zohrab Mnatsakanyan told his colleagues that OSCE Minks Group Co-Chairs meeting with Cavusoglu in Ankara was “routine,” adding that Armenia has no objections to such meetings. He reiterated that Turkey cannot have a role in the Karabakh peace process.
Mnatsakanyan explained that the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs have their working routine which includes meetings with representatives of the OSCE member states and the Minsk Group in case of necessity. He emphasized that such meetings are not something new and there is nothing bizarre there.
”This is not the first such meeting. They met with a number of other countries before and other meetings are scheduled. This is normal and we have no concerns regarding the Minsk Group Co-chairs,” said Mnatsakanyan. “Perhaps the difference is that Turkey made certain comments, which, by the way, to be honest, did not include anything that we have not heard in the past.”
Mnatsakanyan said that the foreign ministry already made a statement asserting that Turkey’s generally unfriendly policy toward Armenia and the Armenian people, which in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is manifested through one-sided military assistance to Azerbaijan, makes it evident that official Ankara cannot have a role in the conflict settlement issue.
On a related matter, representatives of Azerbaijan, once again, did not attend a regularly scheduled OSCE Minsk Group monitoring of the Artsakh-Azerbaijan border on Wednesday.