MAUERBACH, Austria—Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian on Monday, ahead of a meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov, addressed the informal ministerial meeting of the OSCE, urging the international community to take “more tangible means to curb Azerbaijan.”
“Azerbaijan ignores all appeals of the Co-Chair countries and continues to stick to its highly destructive attitude at the negotiation table and provocative actions in the conflict zone,” Nalbandian told the international gathering.
Below is the complete text of Nalbandian’s speech at the meeting as published by Armenia’s Foreign Ministry.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank the Austrian Chairmanship and particularly Minister Sebastian Kurz for organizing this informal Ministerial discussion.
Joining efforts with a view to overcoming distrust and increasing confidence is enshrined in the birth certificate of this Organization, while dialogue and cooperation have been long identified as the instruments for achieving our common goals. We appreciate the Chairmanship’s initiative to once again apply to the foundations of the OSCE, since neither dialogue, nor cooperation can be taken as granted nowadays. We hope that this kind of discussions can contribute to reviving the true spirit of cooperation, being mindful that the most noticeable accomplishments of the OSCE have been secured through dialogue and compromise, political will and good faith.
The setbacks of our cooperation and erosion of trust do not merely limit to the existing disagreements on number of areas. Here we refer also to the abuse of the principle of consensus, the consequences of which go far beyond from damaging the trust, especially in the cases where there is none, but rather shaking the very essence of the OSCE which is designed to solve the issues through dialogue and cooperation and never through imposing the position of one participating State at the expense of all others and the entire Organization. Thus, the refusal of Azerbaijan to join the consensus on the extension of the mandate of the OSCE Office in Yerevan damages not merely the integrity of the field missions of the OSCE but its capacity of inclusive cooperation in implementing the commitments. Azerbaijan failed to respect the OSCE commitments back home and eliminated the OSCE Office in its own country before it attacked and closed the OSCE last assets in the region.
The violation and abuse of shared norms and principles do not happen in a vacuum. It does not come as a surprise that this participating State found itself alone and in isolation in challenging the OSCE Office in Yerevan.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The dire record of Azerbaijan’s noncompliance encompasses all three dimensions of the OSCE. The leadership of Azerbaijan uses every opportunity to boast about multiculturalism allegedly cultivated by them. In reality thousands masterpieces of Armenian cultural and historic heritage, sacred sites, churches, monasteries, cross stones destroyed and erased by Azerbaijan testify to the contrary. The 2016 report of the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance states: “Political leaders, educational institutions and media have continued using hate speech against Armenians; an entire generation of Azerbaijanis has now grown up listening to this hateful rhetoric”. It is this generation raised in the environment of such propaganda that again and again commits despicable crimes. How could the leadership of Baku talk about multiculturalism at the same time declaring that “all Armenians of the world are number one enemies of Azerbaijan”? Probably it considers this to be part of Baku’s self-proclaimed “intelligent power”. There is nothing smart in trying to mislead the international community, especially those countries that do not have, difficulty to find out the truth, to warn their citizens of the Armenian origin to avoid visiting Azerbaijan, where they will be subjected to outrageous racist discriminating practice on the basis of their ethnicity.
In April 2016 Azerbaijan unleashed a large scale aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh that was accompanied by the grave violations of international humanitarian law, atrocities against the civilian population, including children, women and elderly persons, mutilation of the bodies, Daesh-style beheadings, which have been condemned by international community.
The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries initiated Summits in Vienna and St. Petersburg aimed at overcoming the consequences of Azerbaijan’s aggression as well as at creating conducive conditions for the advancement of the negotiation process.
During the Vienna Summit it was particularly agreed upon and then reconfirmed in St. Petersburg to establish the OSCE mechanism for investigation of the ceasefire violations; to increase the number and enhance the capacity of the OSCE monitors on the line of contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, and on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The commitment on the exclusively peaceful settlement of the conflict was reiterated, the strict adherence to the 1994-1995 ceasefire agreements was emphasised.
Trust and confidence are built when agreements are implemented. With this understanding Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh gave their consents to implement the mentioned high level agreements. Azerbaijan backtracked from those agreements as it had done with prior commitments many times before. This attitude of Azerbaijan questions its credibility for being a party to negotiations, which honours its agreements.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In the framework of the OSCE trust means first of all trust into Organization and its ability to address eminent security challenges in Europe. We firmly believe that based on the proposals of the Co-Chairs the OSCE should enhance its presence on the ground in the conflict zone on more permanent and stronger basis. In this respect the OSCE could help all parties to the conflict to respect ceasefire, avoid military escalation and build trust and confidence. The OSCE is an organization which was created on the lessons of history and history teaches us on many occasions that war is an outcome of misperception and miscalculation of security environment while peace is an outcome of trust. Azerbaijan has chosen a different path.
People on all sides of the conflict deserve to know who pushes them to the path of loss and suffering. Identifying the security threats in impartial and responsible manner is important for credibility of this Organization as well.
We took note that in their statement the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs identified Azerbaijan as a party who first resorted to the violence. This has been far not the first appeal of the Co-Chairs addressed directly to Azerbaijan. On previous occasions the Co-Chairs have made a number of clear cut statements calling Baku to refrain from the escalation of the situation, to reaffirm the commitment to peaceful settlement of the issue, to refrain from criticizing the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries and to respect their mandate, give up efforts to shift the conflict resolution to other formats, to agree to the establishment of investigation mechanism of ceasefire violations. In response to Azerbaijan’s claims that tried to question the validity of the ceasefire agreements of 1994 and 1995, the Co-Chairs clearly stated that these agreements have no time limitation and should be strictly adhered to.
However, Azerbaijan ignores all appeals of the Co-Chair countries and continues to stick to its highly destructive attitude at the negotiation table and provocative actions in the conflict zone.
On July 4th the Azerbaijani leadership once again resorted to the tactics of notorious terrorist organizations and as many times before used its civilian population as a human shield for shelling the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh by heavy weaponry, including by multiple rocket launcher systems. In response, the Defense Army of Nagorno-Karabakh was obliged to exercise self-defense against the aggressive actions of the Azerbaijani side. Baku clearly demonstrated that it is not capable to comprehend the appeals of the Co-Chairs.
As long as Azerbaijan fails to respect its international commitments in compliance with 1994-1995 trilateral ceasefire agreements, refuses to implement the Vienna and St. Petersburg Summit commitments, especially on the creation of the mechanism for investigation of the ceasefire violations, that can become also a mechanism for prevention of escalation, Baku bears full responsibility for all consequences for such behaviour.
This stresses once again the imperative for the international community to consider more tangible means to curb Azerbaijan.
We are bound together to advance the cause of peace and security through the OSCE. We will continue to be actively involved in all efforts aimed at building cooperation, consent and trust in the OSCE area.