07, 2010

President Serzh Sargsyan responds to the questions raised by the participants of the Miasin youth movement

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Mr. President, thank you for visiting us and for your support of the Miasin movement. Even though currently we are staying at the camp and are having interesting and eventful time, we are following developments in our country and abroad through the internet and TV. My question is: What’s your assessment of the current stage of the NK process, particularly in the light of the latest meeting of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Saint Petersburg and statement of the Foreign Ministers of the OSCE Minsk Group co-Chairs in Almaty.

Karabakh can be discussed even on the shores of Sevan. I mean, it’s good that you stay involved even during your rest. As you know, negotiations over the Nagorno Karabakh are being conducted in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group, whose co-Chairs are the United States, France and the Russian Federation. The Minsk Group proposed in 2007 that principles, called the Madrid Principles, be accepted as the basis for negotiations and as such they were introduced to the parties. Both parties said yes, this document can become a basis for negotiations. And the negotiations have been going on for the last three years. As a result of these negotiations, at the meeting in Saint Petersburg mediated by the President of Russia, the sides were presented with the latest proposals. At this point, Azerbaijan should inform whether they accept these proposals as a basis, or not. The rest of what is being spoken by big and small officials of that country is wishful thinking or their perception of the previous rounds of the negotiations. Today, there is only one clear-cut question: Does or does not the Azerbaijani side accept the latest proposals by the Minks Group Co-Chairs? If Azerbaijan says that they do, the negotiations will be continued. If Azerbaijan says that they don’t, then probably other options should be searched for.
Do you know what these principles are? There are three principles, which are enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act - territorial integrity, people’s right for self-determination, and non-use of force. Since the Azerbaijani side is talking mostly of the territorial integrity, in Almaty the Foreign Ministers made it explicitly clear that no principle can have precedence over the other two. It is quite clear what they meant. And second, they spoke in tough terms about provocative statements.

In a nutshell – yes, the negotiations continue, the latest proposals, which were presented to us in Saint Petersburg, are on the table. Now, Armenia and Azerbaijan should inform whether they accept them as the basis or not. We believe that that document allows to continue the negotiations. Let’s wait and see what Azerbaijan has to say. All the other statements and conclusions are either pure wishes or personal interpretations of the previous rounds of the negotiations. And personal interpretations are for domestic consumption. Perhaps, they want to encourage their people, or they want to encourage themselves, or are engaged in wishful thinking, but it’s a waste of time. We are not going to waste our time. We’re not interested in wasting time. We assert that the resolution must be based on compromise. However, there is one important issue – unless it is solved, all other steps, all other proposals are unacceptable for us.

Mr. President, my question refers to Armenia-Turkey relations. Turkish officials on the highest level declare that if Armenia displays political will and thoughtfulness, the peace process in the region could be beneficial for all parties. However, if the Turkey’s good will is not reciprocated, Armenia will suffer the most. How do you assess this statement?

Look, statements like that belong to the declarations I mentioned in my response to the previous question. Officials of that country very often adopt this style and utter whatever crosses their minds, with no credible base and distorting reality. The whole world urges Turkey to display political will and ratify the signed Protocols. The Turks pretend not to hear and urge us to display political will. We have displayed our share of political will. We would never neglect an extended hand of friendship, but that hand simply does not exist, only presented as such, so we disregard it. Again, we have displayed our share of political will, now we wait for the Turks to display good will.

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