“No significant progress can be achieved in negotiations without full involvement of Artsakh authorities.” Joint session of the Security Councils of the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh held in Yerevan
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Joint session of the Security Councils of Armenia and Artsakh was held today in Yerevan co-chaired by Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan and President of the Artsakh Republic Arayik Harutyunyan. Ararat Mirzoyan and Arthur Tovmasyan, speakers of National Assemblies of Armenia and Artsakh attended the sitting.
Ahead of discussions on the agenda issues, Nikol Pashinyan and Arayik Harutyunyan delivered speeches.
In his remarks Prime Minister Pashinyan, particularly, noted:
“Honorable President of the Artsakh Republic,
Distinguished Speakers of the National Assemblies of Armenia and Artsakh,
Dear Security Council members,
The 4th joint session of the Security Councils of Armenia and Artsakh is being held today in Yerevan. This is already a well-established format to discuss various issues of the security agenda of Armenia and Artsakh. A new government and a new security council have been established in Artsakh, and we need our Artsakh partners to get engaged in this work as soon as possible and this meeting is important in this regard.
First of all, let me congratulate the members of the Artsakh Security Council on their appointment. The Security Council of Armenia also has new members, and they are also participating in this format for the first time. I also congratulate them on this occasion.
I consider it important to make some observations on three sets of issues, which I would loosely define as the participation of Artsakh in the negotiation process, our approaches to the substantive issues of the negotiations and the environment ofthe peace process.
During our joint session of December 23, 2019, I had specifically emphasized the upcoming national elections in Artsakh. Those elections pursued three primary goals.
First, through realization of their human rights to enable the people of Artsakh to elect authorities that would organize their political and social life.
Second, to enable the people of Artsakh to elect authorities that would ensure their security. Indeed, the Republic of Armenia will continue to support the Artsakh authorities in upholding their responsibility to protect their people, while remaining the security guarantor of Artsakh.
Third, as a result of the presidential and parliamentary elections, the people of Artsakh were entitled to give a mandate to their authorities to represent Artsakh at the negotiating table.
Now, when the electoral processes are over and the authorities have been formed, we can state that these three goals have been best achieved. As a result of competitive and democratic elections, Artsakh formed a government, which expresses the aspirations of the people of Artsakh for political reforms, economic and infrastructural development. Elections and the subsequent establishment of the government led to solidarity and consolidation of political forces, which certainly further strengthened the security of Artsakh.
And finally, the elections underlined the role of the people of Artsakh and their elected authorities in the peace process. It is obvious that no significant progress can be achieved in the negotiation process without full involvement of the Artsakh authorities, since any progress requires ability to reach and implement important agreements, and here the popular mandate received by the authorities of Artakh is indispensable.
The involvement of the Artsakh authorities in the substantive part of negotiations is an objective necessity, and avoiding it will further protract already protracted conflict. It is obvious that the parties to the conflict have divergent positions on a number of key issues, and to be honest, it is much easier to state the points on which we do not agree with Azerbaijan rather than the ones we can agree upon. There are many visible reasons explaining this situation, but if for a moment we will try to generalize them, it becomes clear that we are facing two main problems.
I have already mentioned the first one, it refers to the reluctance of the current Azerbaijani authorities to negotiate with the Artsakh authorities. Why do I make an emphasis on the word “the current”? Because there are people in this hall who have not only negotiated, but also signed documents with the former, more precisely, then-authorities of Azerbaijan, including during the presidency of Heydar Aliyev.
Second, Azerbaijan doesn’t give up its maximalist approach and views the peace process as a means to achieve incrementally all its demands. In other words, not as a means to reach compromise, but to incrementally implement all its demands. It doesn’t happen that way. The negotiation process is not a concert on demand with one or two intermissions; the peace implies willingness to reach a compromise and comprehensive solutions.
With that in mind, I put forward a formula according to which any solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue should be acceptable to the people of Artsakh, to the people of Armenia and to the people of Azerbaijan. This formula is nothing else than a proposal to accept a possibility of compromise. I repeat, a possibility to reach a compromise, it is not an acceptance of a specific compromise, which is still far from being formed due to the above mentioned reasons.
By not accepting my offer, the President of Azerbaijan does not accept a possibility of compromise. With approaches like this we cannot expect real progress in the negotiation process, especially as they are accompanied by threats of war or direct or indirect territorial and historic claims to the Armenian people.
I am confident that attempts to turn the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict into a long-term Armenian-Azerbaijani enmity within which our peoples will fight on everything - past, present, future and the whole region - is in the interests of neither the Armenian nor the Azerbaijani people. The ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the case of Ramil Safarov established and condemned the promotion of hate crimes against Armenians by Azerbaijan. The ECHR’s ruling should draw clear-cut red lines for Azerbaijan by demonstrating that beyond those lines stand not only Armenia and the Armenian people, but also the international community.
As we recently witnessed, the President of Azerbaijan likes to talk about history. I would like to invoke some historical facts. Throughout its history, i.e. for the last 100 years, Azerbaijan faced two major setbacks: first in April 1920, when Azerbaijan lost its two years old statehood, and second in June 1993, when Azerbaijan was on the verge of losing the statehood it had regained two years earlier, and the Day of National Salvation of Azerbaijanis, which by the way was marked a few days ago, is a reminder of that.
The above-mentioned two setbacks of the Azerbaijani statehood were caused by wars unleashed against Artsakh both in 1920 and in 1991. It is clear that both in the early 1920s and in early 1990s, Azerbaijan overestimated its capabilities and underestimated the devastating consequences of war. I am far from the idea that what is bad for Azerbaijan is good for Armenia and Artsakh. The loss of Azerbaijan's statehood in 1920 gave nothing to us, Armenians. And more importantly, Armenia and Artsakh managed to establish a ceasefire together with Azerbaijan in 1994, to put an end to the war and stabilize the situation in the region.
The joint security system of Armenia and Artsakh is more than capable of protecting the security of the Armenian people in every part of our homeland. The use of force will have its consequences, and it will always be retaliated more than adequately, both in military and political dimensions. President Ilham Aliyev also realizes that in fact has driven himself to a deadend. For more than 15 years, he has promised to his people to solve the Karabakh issue through military means. Under this pretext, billions of dollars have been spent quite oftenly leaving the impression of simple money laundering, which eventually end up in offshore accounts belonging to well-known persons. And now he cannot explain to his own people why the reality is as it is. He understands that possible military adventurism will not only lead to irreversible disaster for Azerbaijan, but will also destroy his nondemocratic non-democratic power. In order to divert people's attention, to get out of this deadend, he levels up and expands his warmongering by trying to compensate past failures with new and more absurd promises about the future.
Recently, the so-called “western azerbaijan” initiative was launched with the guidance of Azerbaijan’s special services. By saying “western azerbaijan” they obviously mean the Republic of Armenia. Azerbaijan’s regional policy thereby becomes more complete, and the absurd initiative of “western azerbaijan” comes to substitute the ridiculous series of the so-called “southern, northern, north-western azerbaijans,” thus highlighting Azerbaijan’s destructive aspirations in the context of the entire region.
While referring to security and stability in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, in fact we are referring to the security and stability of our entire region. In this regard, Armenia is contributing towards the security not only in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, but in our entire region as well. In this regard I think we need to approach our regional role with special responsibility and stay strong and refrain from reacting to Azerbaijan’s meaningless provocations.
Particularly now when our societies are fighting a global challenge - the novel coronavirus - we should call to refrain from promotion of hostile actions. Whether we like it or not, history and geography have made us neighbors, and we must accept the simple truth that our peoples enjoy equal rights, cannot be placed under each other’s domination and must decide their destiny by their will in line with right to self-determination. Acknowledgment of equal rights of our peoples will greatly contribute to the preparation of our peoples for peace and will lay a solid foundation for sustainable and lasting development of our region. Thank you.”
President of Artsakh Arayik Harutyunyan stated in his remarks:
“Honorable Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia,
Distinguished members of the Security Councils of the Republic of Armenia and the Artsakh Republic,
As this is the first time I am participating in the joint session of the Security Councils of the Republic of Armenia and the Artsakh Republic, I would like to welcome this already traditional event. It is the most important platform for exchanging views on the ways to solve the security problems our united homeland and the Armenian nation in general are facing, for combining approaches and our efforts. The first achievements of the works within this framework are already visible, and I am confident that by time the achievements will continuously amplify, thus raising the level of Homeland’s security.
Today, our united homeland is facing unprecedented security challenges, which primarily derive from the uncertainty posed by the coronavirus, and uncertainty itself is the main security threat everywhere. Along with usual long-term risks, we must now not only effectively protect public life and health, but also to neutralize additional risks posed by the current situation in all areas. In this regard I consider important coordinated and joint work between all the possible subjects - from the agencies of the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh to cities and various organizations. I am confident only through effective coordination of relevant state bodies and joint efforts of the society we will be able to overcome the current challenges, while at the same time making use of the opportunities provided by the crisis.
Indeed, while combating the invisible threat of the coronavirus, we must not weaken our vigilance, especially against the visible danger posed by Azerbaijan. For many decades, the Azerbaijani authorities have posed an existential threat not only to the entire population of Artsakh but of Armenia as well. We support the exclusively peaceful settlement for the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict, and at the same time we are forced to be prepared for war. Being integral parts of our homeland and the same security system, the Republic of Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia fully share the approaches and efforts to achieve peace and be prepared for war. It means joint efforts to continuously improve our military potential, develop socio-economic capabilities, use a wide range of foreign policy tools to properly protect the rights and interests of the Armenian people, and, why not, to ensure efficient psychological security.
Food and energy safety is one of the main pillars of our security system, where achievements are significant as well, however there are always new things to be done amid the dynamic change of our environmental challenges, our goals and opportunities. Our task is to ensure a self-sufficient and flexible food and energy system for all situations to ensure the strength and stability of military and socio-economic security. From this perspective, infrastructures also have a strategic importance, and I am glad that we are already launching the construction of the third highway connecting Artsakh with Mother Armenia.
In short, the Republics of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh or our homeland have the task of continuously improving its strategic resilience and impact in the current security environment so that it can effectively counter multifaceted, multilayered and strategic challenges. And it is the primary responsibility of the structures involved in the Security Councils, so we are obliged to use all the effective measures and methods to implement with dignity our pannational mission.
I wish all of us good discussions and good luck.”