Azerbaijan continuously implements the policy of “Nagorno-Karabakh without Armenians” and we must do everything so that it receives a proper international assessment. PM Pashinyan
At the beginning of the Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan referred to the situation in the Lachin Corridor and noted:
"Dear participants of the Cabinet meeting,
In recent days, the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh becomes extremely complicated. Azerbaijan first blocked the Lachin Corridor, then closed the pipeline supplying Nagorno Karabakh with natural gas. As a result of these provocative actions, the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh are deprived of the right to free movement, are facing the difficulties of heating their apartments in the winter weather, thousands of people, including children, are stuck on the roads in the cold winter conditions, and many families are involuntarily divided, finding themselves on different sides of the blockade. Citizens with serious health problems are deprived of medicines and health services, supply of food and other essential goods have been disrupted. 120,000 people in blockade are in fact, in the situation of hostage. Gas-heated schools and kindergartens are forced to stop working, as a result of which around 22,000 children are deprived of their right to education.
The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh cannot be called anything other than a humanitarian crisis. Moreover, this crisis arose as a result of Azerbaijan's failure to fulfill its international obligations. As it has already been said many times, the closure of the Lachin Corridor is a direct and gross violation of the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020 by Azerbaijan, simply because according to point 6, the Lachin Corridor is under the control of the peacekeeping troops of the Russian Federation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the Republic of Azerbaijan guarantees the safety of the movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo through the Lachin Corridor. This is a direct quote from the November 9 trilateral declaration. And that declaration is a document under which the president of Azerbaijan has also signed.
As I have had occasions to mention, Azerbaijan's violations of the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020 are of a chronic nature. And those violations are as follows: in the first point of the declaration, it is recorded about the cessation of fire and all military operations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. Contrary to this, illegal military operations have been undertaken by Azerbaijan since December 13, 2020, i.e. one month after the signing of the trilateral declaration, namely in the form of occupation of Khtsaberd and Hin Tagher villages of Nagorno Karabakh. On March 24, 2022, units of the Azerbaijani armed forces invaded the zone of responsibility of the peacekeeping forces of the Russian Federation in Nagorno-Karabakh, in the area reaching the village at Karaglukh hill, and continue to remain there to this day. Similar military operations took place before and after that, violations of the cease-fire regime by the armed forces of Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh continue to be regular.
The occupation of the territories of the Republic of Armenia by Azerbaijan as a result of the provocations of May 11, 2021, November 14, 2021 and September 13, 2022 is also a gross violation of the first point of the trilateral declaration.
Daily violations of the ceasefire regime along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border are also a gross violation of the provisions of the first point of the trilateral declaration by Azerbaijan.
The above-mentioned actions also violate the third point of the trilateral declaration, according to which a line of contact is being formed in Nagorno-Karabakh under the responsibility of the peacekeeping troops of the Russian Federation in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan's continuous claim that Nagorno Karabakh does not exist is also a gross violation of the trilateral declaration, something that I have had many occasions to speak about.
I have already mentioned the violations of point 6 of the trilateral declaration above, in connection with the operation of the Lachin Corridor.
Azerbaijan also grossly and continuously violates paragraph 7 of the declaration, according to which internally displaced persons and refugees return to the Nagorno-Karabakh territory and adjacent territories under the supervision of the staff of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Until now, the representatives of the UN have not been able to enter Nagorno Karabakh due to the obstacles created by Azerbaijan. Until now, the issues of forcibly displaced citizens from the Hadrut region of Nagorno-Karabakh have not been resolved.
I want to pay attention to the wording of the above-mentioned article of the trilateral declaration. I quote from the article. "Refugees return to the territory of Nagorno Karabakh". This formulation means that there is Nagorno-Karabakh and Nagorno-Karabakh has a territory, and saying that Nagorno-Karabakh does not exist and not accepting the territorial existence of such an entity, Azerbaijan, in fact, declares that the refugees have no place to return, which is a gross violation not only of the trilateral declaration, but also of the humanitarian law.
Azerbaijan also grossly violates paragraph 8 of the trilateral declaration, which states that there should be an exchange of prisoners of war, hostages and other detained persons. Until now, Azerbaijan is holding and refusing to return at least 33 prisoners, hostages and other detained persons to Armenia, which is also a gross violation not only of the trilateral declaration, but also of humanitarian law.
Azerbaijan also continuously and grossly violates point 9 of the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020, claiming that the Republic of Armenia should provide a corridor. I have said many times that the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020 does not provide for any corridor through the territory of the Republic of Armenia. Nor does any document signed by Armenia provide for such a thing. Naturally, all the claims that Armenia gave such a verbal promise to anyone are absurd and even ignorant.
As before, the Republic of Armenia is ready to implement the provisions of point 9 of the trilateral declaration, which, let me remind you, is about unblocking the economic and transport communications of the region. The trilateral declaration does not provide for any restrictions on the sovereignty of the Republic of Armenia in this process, and therefore, Armenia is ready at any time for the reopening of roads, the construction of new roads, as well as their operation, as provided by the legislation of the Republic of Armenia.
Our main collective work should be making Azerbaijan's chronic violations of its own commitments a subject for international assessment. Our diplomatic service, the foreign relations units of all departments, parliamentary diplomacy, the ruling force, the opposition, non-governmental organizations, representatives of the diaspora, individuals and legal entities with links abroad, and social media users must contribute to this cause to demonstrate that Azerbaijan's periodic violations of the 2020 trilateral declaration primarily aim to subject Nagorno Karabakh to genocide or forced expatriation.
Azerbaijan continuously implements the policy of “Nagorno-Karabakh without Armenians” and we must do everything to ensure that this policy receives a proper international assessment.
I want to thank all those countries and international organizations that have already responded and given an assessment to Azerbaijan's policy of closing the Lachin Corridor and causing a humanitarian disaster in Nagorno-Karabakh. I must note that the silence of a number of friendly countries in this regard is at least strange.
I fully support the statement adopted yesterday by the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, in which it is stated that in the current situation it is extremely necessary to launch or re-launch the international mechanisms for ensuring the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh. The National Assembly also called on the UN Security Council, OSCE Minsk Group Co-chair and member countries to send a fact-finding mission to Nagorno Karabakh to monitor the humanitarian situation.
I instruct our diplomatic service, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to effectively deliver this message of the highest legislative body of the Republic of Armenia to the addressees.
I should also say that I am in constant contact with the President of Nagorno Karabakh for assessing the developments and discussing possible solutions. That's all for now, thank you for your attention."