Artsakh’s Foreign Minister Sergey Ghazarian on Tuesday said his government is guided by the mandate it has received from its citizens, when they overwhelmingly voted for independence in 1991.
He added that the Artsakh authorities cannot renege on the people’s expression of free will.
Speaking to reporters, Ghazaryan also lamented that the European Council President Charles Michel did mention the current situation in Artsakh—Azerbaijan’s blockade, the illegal checkpoint and the ongoing aggression and the acute humanitarian crisis—in his statement following his meeting with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan in Brussels on Sunday.
Instead Michel said he called on Aliyev to create security guarantees for the “Armenians of the Nagorno-Karabakh oblast,” a term used to describe Artsakh during the Soviet times, before Artsakh’s declaration of independence.
The EU leader also announced that Armenia and Azerbaijan “confirmed their commitment” to respect each other’s territorial integrity, specifying Azerbaijan’s 86,600 square kilometers, which includes Artsakh.
“The people of Artsakh declared their decision through free expression of will on December 10, 1991. There have been various opinions since, but the authorities of Artsakh are guided by the mandate bestowed upon them by the people and cannot go against that expression of will,” Ghazaryan told reporters.
While the Artsakh foreign minister did not directly address the territorial integrity issue and the ramifications of Michel’s statements on the future of status of Artsakh, he did fault the EU leader for ignoring the current realities on the ground.
“Most importantly, he [Michel] did not mention Azerbaijan’s non-compliance with the requirements of the International Court of Justice and the dire humanitarian situation established in Artsakh as a result of Azerbaijan’s provocative steps,” Ghazaryan said, referring to ICJ’s February 22 ruling ordering Azerbaijan to ensure “unimpeded movement” on the Lachin Corridor.
In a strongly-worded statement on Monday, Artsakh’s Foreign Ministry said “the EU leadership continues to ignore the legitimate rights and interests of the people of Artsakh and is guided solely by their own geopolitical and short-term interests in the region to the detriment of the values of democracy and human rights declared by the European Union.”