September 30, 2023, Yerevan
The ARMENIAN NATIONAL PLATFORM OF THE EASTERN PARTNERSHIP CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM convened today a forum of democratic forces – the INDEPENDENCE FORUM.
The forum, which was attended by the representatives of public and political organizations, was held in the Panoramic Hall of the Ani Grand Hotel in Yerevan. The purpose of the event was to act together and raise the voice of democratic civil and political forces in view of the challenges that threaten Armenia’s independence and sovereignty, which the Prime Minister of Armenia spoke about recently. It is obvious that the threats come from Russia and Azerbaijan, and the reliable way to confront them is to revise the legal-contractual basis that puts Armenia in dependence from Russia and to start the rapid integration of Armenia with the collective West.
Evaluating the threats to the independence of Armenia and responding to the call of the national platform of the EaP CSF Armenia, the INDEPENDENCE FORUM was attended by presidents and vice-presidents of six political parties (including from the ruling party), representatives of dozens of non-governmental organizations, private citizens, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Armenia.
During the Forum, the participants expressed their positions and exchanged ideas regarding the events unfolding in the Republic of Armenia and Artsakh, then discussed and adopted a Statement.
The Forum was covered live by the Armenian Public Television Company, 1in.am and Civic.am online televisions, and other media. The full video is available through the following link:
The agenda of the forum, the text of the statement and some pictures are attached.
EaP CSF Armenian National Platform’s Secretariat
Statement by the Civilian and Political Forces on the Need of Protection
the Independence of the Republic of Armenia
30 september, 2023, Yerevan
We, free citizens of the Republic of Armenia – the representatives of civil society and the political forces – herewith declare that we are full of determination to preserve and protect our independent and sovereign statehood, as the highest value created by the Armenian people. We condemn the threats from Russia and Azerbaijan to Armenia’s independence and territorial integrity.
We will fight against any external and internal encroachment on the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Armenia. Current anti-Armenian attitude and policy adopted by the Russian authorities, of which the Armenian people in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) became victims on those days, is not only reprehensible, but it will further deepen the gap arisen between Armenia and Russia in recent years, making it almost insurmountable. This reality creates an urgent necessity for radical revision of the entire body of legal agreements between the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation.
In these difficult days for our brothers and sisters forcibly deported of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), we are standing by their side, ready to assist in meeting all their urgent needs and finding safe shelter in Motherland. At the same time, we will fight for their safe return to Artsakh and the realization of their rights, for the guarantee of their dignified and prosperous life on their own land in the soonest possible time.
We condemn all the international crimes, committed by the Aliyev’s hereditary corrupt dictatorship against the Armenian people in Artsakh, including genocide, depatriation, war crimes and crimes against humanity. We assess all of this as a continuation of the aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan against the Armenians of Artsakh since 1988, the forced displacement of around half a million Armenians from Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan, destruction of Armenian cultural heritage, which has not been properly condemned and punished by the international community. For all these crimes, Azerbaijan should bear collective responsibility, including in the form of sanctions, and its officials should bear personal criminal responsibility in accordance with the norms of international law.
We consider the forced depatriation of the Armenian people of Artsakh realized through starvation and military aggression in the same logic as Russia’s aggression and genocide committed against the people of Ukraine, which we had condemned, and which is just the continuation of the Holodomor and the forced deportations carried out in line with Stalin’s colonial policy during the first part of the last century.
We welcome the readiness of the authorities of the Republic of Armenia to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and urge them to do so without any reservations.
We emphasize once again the importance of peaceful settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict through dialogue between the representatives of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and Azerbaijan and highly appreciate the efforts taken by the international community in that direction. We consider that the decree about the self-dissolution of Nagorno Karabakh Republic published by the group that usurped the power through a coup in Artsakh (that appeared in the zone of Russia’s responsibility on November 9, 2020) cannot have any legal force or provide a basis for Aliyev’s dictatorship to legitimize its criminal acts against the Armenian people.
We express our gratitude to the international community, the European Union, its member states, the USA and other countries for the political, moral and material support shown to Armenia and the people of Artsakh during these difficult days.
At the same time, we call on our Western partners to use the necessary diplomatic and political tools to achieve as a first step the withdrawal of the Russian occupation forces from the territory of Artsakh and deployment there an international fact-finding and monitoring mission, to ensure the free entry of international media and the relevant offices of the United Nations, including UNESCO and UNICEF to Artsakh, and later also to deploy there a peacekeeping mission endowed with an international mandate for creating the opportunity and conditions for the return Armenians to Artsakh, ensuring their safety and rights.
In order to achieve the strengthening of Armenia’s independence and sovereignty and its further empowerment, we call on the RA authorities to:
1. Immediately start the process of withdrawing from the CSTO, the EAEU, the CIS structures, by dissolving all military and economic agreements with Russia, which at the moment do not complement the Armenia’s security, but a rather endanger that security.
2. Ban the broadcast of Russian state and state-affiliated TV channels’ programs in the Armenian multiplex and cable network, on the basis of their violation of the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Armenia.
3. Apply to the European Union by submitting an application for full EU membership. Sign bilateral strategic partnership agreements with the EU member states, the USA, Canada, India, and other democratic countries of the United West.
4. Give impetus to the deepening of bilateral and multilateral military and military-technical cooperation with Western countries and Euro-Atlantic security systems.
EaP Civil Society Forum’s Armenian National Platform
EU-Armenia Civil Society Platform
“For the Republic” party
“Voice” Libertarian-Conservative party
Armenian Institute for International and Security Affairs
“Europe of Law” association
Armenian Center for Democracy and Security Issues
“Pro Armenia” public organization
“Shogher Union” socio-educational NGO
Journalists’ club “Aparez”.
“Free Citizen” Civic Initiatives Support Center
“Free Armenia” initiative
“Children’s Association of Armenia” Charitable NGO
“Family and Community” NGO
“Civic Youth Center” NGO
“Community Consolidation and Support Center” NGO
“Refugees and International Law” civil society network, Eleonora Asatryan
Gardmana Armenians of the World NGO, president: Abgar Gyulumyan
Gurgen Simonyan, political scientist, expert on the national interest and strategic policy of the state
Artur Sakunts, human rights defender
Davit Stepanyan, political analyst
Levon Barseghyan, chairman of the board of “Asparez” club of journalists
Sossi Tatikyan, foreign and security policy expert
Rafik Hakobyan, YSU professor
Lilit Dallakyan, political scientist
Sergey Sargsyan, IT specialist
Mikael Zolyan, political scientist
Hrant Vardanyan, founding director of Arev Film Studio, film director
Gagik Ghazare, film director
Oleg Dulgarian, human rights defender
Edgar Khachatryan, human rights defender
Hayk Babajanyan, IT specialist
Artur Ghazaryan, IT specialist