09, 2011

Statement of the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan at the Council meeting of the CIS Heads of state

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Distinguished Colleagues,

First, I would like to thank Emomali Rahmon for the work conducted in the CIS structures during Tajikistan’s presidency and express gratitude for the warm and generous reception extended to us in hospitable Dushanbe.

As a result of the consistent work conducted by the Executive Committee of the CIS, councils, which coordinate activities of its branches, and bodies engaged in functional cooperation, the CIS succeeded as an international organization which promotes sustainable development and mutually beneficial cooperation of our countries.

The Declaration dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the CIS particularizes the problems and tasks before our organization and outlines the dynamics of development – from the inception of the CIS to the new levels of the integration processes, which are reflected in the concept of further development and its strategy. All this is stated in detail in the analytical paper, which sheds light on the achievements and failings; it also defines new challenges that our organization faces. The report is of practical importance; it’s yet to be analyzed in the executive structure and to be translated into concrete proposals on cooperation in the most promising areas. With this regard, I would propose to discuss also the document presented by the Executive Committee which recaps the process of implementation of the basic steps contained in the concept for future development of the CIS.

Dear Colleagues,

The Republic of Armenia stands ready to continue to bring its direct participation to the CIS joint undertakings which are aimed at the modernization of the economy through innovative means, efficient use of transport and energy infrastructure, utilization of the potential of the interregional cooperation.

Naturally, we will continue to keep in the focus of our attention issues related to the expansion and strengthening of cooperation in the humanitarian area which is stipulated by the traditionally close ties, mutual spiritual enrichment, and desire of the CIS peoples to conduct educational, cultural, scientific and information exchange. Special attention will be paid to the joint youth policy in the framework of the 2010-2020 strategy on the international cooperation of the CIS youth which was adopted last year.

In this context, I would like to highlight the importance of the agreement on the “Immortalization of the Heroism and Valor of the CIS nations in the Great Patriotic War”. Preservation of the memories regarding the Great Patriotic War is a sacred duty not only to the generation of our fathers and grandfathers but also to our children and grandchildren. It is particularly critical in the face of the recurring attempts to revise the history of the World War II.

Speaking about humanitarian cooperation, I would like to announce good news. By the decision of UNESCO, Yerevan has been declared the World Book Capital for 2012. Yerevan applied for the nomination considering the fact that in 2012 Armenia will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Armenian book printing. We are planning to conduct multiple events, including participation at the international book fairs, organization in Armenia of regional and international seminars and round tables. According to the established tradition, in the framework of the CIS Interstate Fund on Humanitarian Cooperation we will conduct a conference of the publishers and translators of the CIS and Baltic states. It is my distinct pleasure to invite you all to visit Armenia on that festive days.

Distinguished Colleagues,

I would like to mention a symbolic fact: twenty years ago on this day, the people of Nagorno Karabakh declared their independence. Several days before it, the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan adopted a declaration on the restoration of Azerbaijan’s state independence. It is noteworthy that Azerbaijan re-established it statehood in the borders of 1918-1920, i.e. without Nagorno Karabakh. Hence, both nations utilized their sovereign right for self-determination and statehood establishment in full accordance with the laws and Constitution of the USSR.

In retrospect, the events which took place 20 years ago appear in a broader light. Many would pose a question: was it possible to avoid a bloodshed? I believe, the political, social and economic crisis, which eventually caused the collapse of the USSR, left almost no chance for a peaceful resolution of the ethnic conflicts. We witnessed the unthinkable: on the territory of the former Union, where we had progressed, built, worked and created together, bloody and brutal conflicts erupted. In just a couple of days, the people of Karabakh were drawn into war, with almost no hope to stay alive. Nursultan Nazarbaev, who is present here, remembers those days very well: twenty years ago, together with the President of Russia Boris Eltsin he conducted a mediation mission to Baku, Yerevan and Stepanakert.

The people of Nagorno Karabakh withstood in a horrendous fight and won the right to exist with their own blood. In this twenty years, a generation grew up in Karabakh, which was born and has been living in the independent state. They don’t understand what these protracted and painful negotiations are about because for them there is no ambiguity regarding the status of Nagorno Karabakh. They want to live and develop as any other nation – in peace and accord with their neighbors.

We highly praise the efforts of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and are grateful to the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev for his consistent steps aimed at the expeditious resolution of the NK conflict in the framework of the principles and norms of international law. I am confident that these efforts will be crowned with success and in the nearest future the people of Nagorno Karabakh, as it is envisaged by the draft Basic Principles, will decide on their future in a free and internationally recognized popular vote.

History does not care for “if”. Today, we have to look into future and do everything to ensure security and sustainable development of our countries for the prosperity and well-being of our peoples. Resolution of the conflicts on the territory of the CIS should be conducted in the agreed framework of negotiations and exclusively through peaceful means. Future generation will not forgive us for the repetition of past mistakes.

Allow me to once again express thanks to the leadership of Tajikistan for its successful chairmanship in the statutory bodies of the CIS and express hope that efforts aimed at the further improvement and strengthening of the multifaceted cooperation in the CIS will be continued.

Thank you.

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