Azerbaijan continues to grossly violate the ceasefire agreement, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in his statement at the 127th session of the Committee of the Ministers of the Council of Europe, referring to the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.
At the meeting held in Cyprus the top Armenian diplomat addressed the view of the Council of Europe’s secretary general on the concept of “Democratic Security”, according to which democracies are less likely to go to war.
“Obviously, authoritarian regimes do not face this dilemma,” Nalbandian said in a clear reference to Azerbaijan. “Such a case was witnessed during the new large-scale offensive in April 2016, when Azerbaijan committed gross violations of international humanitarian and human rights law against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
“Two summits were convened after the April aggression of Azerbaijan, where agreements were reached aimed at creating conducive conditions for advancement of the peace process. Baku refuses to implement these agreements although their importance has been highlighted on numerous occasions, including during April 28 trilateral meeting of ministers of foreign affairs of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Moreover, Baku continues the gross violations of the trilateral cease-fire agreements in defiance to the consistent calls of the Co-Chair countries and the international community,” said the Armenian foreign minister as quoted by his press office.
“We value the recent initiatives that call for the equal application of the pan-European human rights instruments to the whole continent without distinction, including in the conflict zones. It is the primary goal of the Council of Europe to ensure that the common values and individual rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights are not dependent on the status of the territory where people live.”
Nalbandian’s speech at the Council of Europe’s ministerial committee session comes amid a new escalation of tensions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone where Azerbaijani and Armenian forces claimed to have destroyed “enemy military facilities” earlier this week.
The American, Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, which has an international mandate to broker a peaceful solution to the protracted conflict, issued a statement on May 18, saying that “Azerbaijani armed forces fired a missile across the Line of Contact, striking military equipment” and that “Armenian armed forces retaliated with mortar fire of various calibers.”
“These actions by both sides represent significant violations of the ceasefire and are cause for alarm,” Ambassadors Richard Hoagland of the United States, Igor Popov of Russia, and Stephane Visconti of France added.
They condemned the recent ceasefire violations in the region and called upon the sides to take “all necessary measures to prevent any further escalation in the conflict zone.”
Nalbandian addressed the statement issued by the OSCE Minsk Group’s co-chairs as he met with the Council of Europe‘s Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland in Cyprus today.
The top Armenian diplomat, in particular, called the statement “non-standard”, stressing that it “clearly points at the party responsible for the ceasefire violations.” This is something, he said, that Armenia has always urged the international mediators to do.