YEREVAN—During a press conference Monday, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian discussed his meeting earlier this month with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov; the pledge by President Serzh Sarkisian to declare the Turkey-Armenia Protocols null-and-void, as well as the Armenian’s new comprehensive agreement with the European Union.
During his meeting with Mammadyarov earlier this month, the two agreed to expand the role of the permanent representative of the OSCE Chairman in Office. During Monday’s press conference, Nalbandian elaborated on the issue and announced that the Minks Group co-chairs would be traveling to the region in the coming days.
“In Krakow we agreed in principle to take one step forward to add seven more people to Andrzey Kasprzyk’s team. Both Armenia and the Minsk Group Co-Chairs announced this in respective statements, while Azerbaijan has kept silent,” said Nalbandian who explained that “Armenia has always been a proponent of it.”
“It is the only mission of an international community in the conflict zone and if the intensity of the monitoring increases, it will contribute to the mitigation of tensions and help observe the ceasefire agreements reached in 1994 and 1995,” said Nalbandian.
As for the creation of an investigation mechanism, Nalbandian said the issue remains on the agenda. He hopes such mechanisms will be created in the future, because it can be an important tool not only in the sense of monitoring of incidents, but also for reducing tensions.
Nalbandian also stated that the Co-Chairs have declared on many occasions that the Karabakh conflict should be solved on the basis of principles and norms proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs as a “package,” which he said envisions a step-by-step implementation of the provisions.
As for the Turkey-Armenia Protocols, Nalbandian explained that Armenia would make its stance clear within the timetable outline by Sarkisian, who told the UN General Assembly last fall that the documents would be declared null and void by April.
“For ten years Armenia has been committed to the normalization process and the agreements reached,” said Nalbandian. “It is Turkey that has refused the implementation of the agreements.”
“While the international community used to say that the ball was in Turkey’s court, today we can state that the ball is in Turkey’s net,” Armenia’s top diplomat added.
Asked whether the withdrawal from the protocols could harm Armenia’s reputation, Nalbandian said: “If any party needs be worried that its standing will be harmed, it’s definitely not Armenia”
Nalbandian called the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the European Union “an important milestone in the relations between Armenia and the European Union,” saying that its ratification by the Armenian parliament could come as early as April.