Statement on "The aggression of Azerbaijan against Artsakh and Armenia with the direct involvement of Turkey and foreign terrorist fighters" as delivered by Ambassador Armen Papikyan at the 1325th meeting of the Permanent Council
The Armenian delegation would like to inform the Permanent Council of the deteriorating situation on the western part of Armenia-Azerbaijan state border, following provocations instigated by the Azerbaijani armed forces on 14 July in the vicinity of Yeraskh settlement of the Republic of Armenia, which resulted in the death of servicemen Samvel Alaverdyan, who was killed by a sniper fire.
On 19 July 2021 Azerbaijan further escalated the situation by shelling the positions of the armed forces of Armenia, including by mortars and incendiary ammunition, targeting not only the border positions of Armenian armed forces but also the adjacent territories. The fire caused by the use of incendiary ammunition affected the civilian settlement, moreover, the head of the community of Yeraskh, who was coordinating the work of emergency services, was wounded.
To escalate the situation further, on the same day, Azerbaijani armed forces also opened fire at border positions of the armed forces of Armenia in the direction of Gegharkunik province in the eastern part of Armenia.
These provocative and hostile actions are not isolated incidents but premeditated and planned attacks with far-reaching intentions. They occurred immediately after the president of Azerbaijan in yet another provocative and bellicose appearance made false territorial and historical claims against Armenia and its sovereign territory.
Considering also the earlier incursion of the Azerbaijani armed forces into the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia in Syunik and Gegharkunik provinces, these developments clearly demonstrate that the official Baku is trying to create new hotbeds of tension along the entire border with Armenia, both in east and west, further undermining regional peace and security.
Moreover, Azerbaijani authorities through their provocations along Armenia-Azerbaijan state border, incursion into Armenia’s territory and territorial claims against Armenia try to remove the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict from the international agenda.
The consistent provocative actions of Azerbaijan speak about a pattern and meticulously planned line of actions aimed at further escalating the situation along the entire border with Armenia and the line of contact between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. It is clear that by doing so, Azerbaijan is trying to torpedo the trilateral statement of November 9, 2020 which, apparently, it is not in a position to fulfill, whereas Armenia implemented all the provisions of the mentioned statement.
The trilateral ceasefire statement signed on 9 November 2020 between the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russian Federation has put an end to the fighting and the war of aggression. However, several days after the signing of the statement Azerbaijan started to flagrantly violate the provisions of the latter. The first grave violation occurred on 11 December 2020 when the special forces of Azerbaijan launched an attack on Hin Tagher and Khtsaberd, the two villages of the Hadrut region that remained under Armenian control on the moment of signing of the ceasefire, capturing 64 Armenian servicemen, hence violating the first provision of the statement which holds that the parties “shall stop at their current positions”.
Then Azerbaijan refused to return the Armenian prisoners of war presenting them as “terrorists”, prosecuting them and holding mock trials, thus flagrantly violating not only international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions, but also paragraph 8 of the trilateral statement of November 9, which unequivocally stipulates that the side should exchange prisoners of war, hostages and other detainees.
Azerbaijan is also engaged in the demolition of houses and other property in the occupied territories of Artsakh aiming to exclude any possibility of the safe and dignified return of Armenian refugees and displaced population to their homes, thereby also violating the seventh provision of the aforementioned trilateral statement, which stipulates: “Internally displaced persons and refugees shall return to the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent areas under the supervision of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.”
Furthermore, paragraph 9 of the 9 November statement reads that “All economic and transport connections in the region shall be unblocked”, end of quote. There is no single provision in the statement that attributes geographic location or area for any of the transport routes that should be used or constructed for unblocking the economic infrastructure of the region. Therefore, intentional distortion by Azerbaijan of this paragraph of the statement pursues the goal of further derailing the implementation of the statement and serve to justify its territorial claims against Armenia.
These are not just failures, but indications of true intentions of the Azerbaijani authorities.
The inadequate response of the international community to the use of force and mass atrocities against the people of Artsakh, including ethnic cleansing, encouraged Azerbaijan to make the use of force as a permanent tool of policy, threatening regional security and peace.
Moreover, the inexplicable shows of diplomatic support to the ambitions of Azerbaijan demonstrated by some participating States by means of engaging in questionable initiatives are detrimental to efforts aimed towards rebuilding trust and establishment of lasting and sustainable peace.
The actions of Azerbaijan clearly constitute a grave violation of principles of international law and of Helsinki Final Act, as well as of its commitments. And Armenia expects a clear reaction from international partners to such violations of international law by Azerbaijan.
Actions of Azerbaijan on the ground stand in direct contrast to the words of peace and coexistence pronounced by the Azerbaijani delegation and its supporters here in the OSCE. We have repeatedly drawn the attention of participating States to this fact, pointing to the insincerity and deceptive nature of these pronouncements.
By constantly raising the level of tensions, including through military provocations in Artsakh, and on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, as evidenced by the recent incidents, Azerbaijan aims to indefinitely and endlessly postpone the resumption of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, and, finally, the settlement of the conflict. Only the resumption of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship can create prerequisites for lasting peace in the region.
Furthermore, Azerbaijan’s provocative actions including impediments towards resumption of NK peace process prevent from starting discussions on delimitation and demarcation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, to which the Prime-Minister of Armenia has publicly referred to on several occasions.
Armenia is ready to engage in a good faith in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and will continue to act consistently in supporting the realization of the right to self-determination of the people of Artsakh, despite the efforts of Azerbaijan to remove it from the international agenda by all means, including by way of denying its very existence. The international community must reject such an approach in the strongest possible terms.
The current situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is the result of a flagrant violation by Azerbaijan of several core principles of the Helsinki Final Act, namely refraining from the threat or use of force; peaceful settlement of disputes; equal rights and self-determination of peoples; and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. There should be no illusion that the results of the use of force, accompanied by war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law, can ever become the basis for a lasting and sustainable peace. Such a peace can only be achieved in the region through a comprehensive settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which must include determining the status of Artsakh on the basis of the realization by the people of Artsakh of their inalienable right to self-determination, ensuring the safe and dignified return of the recently displaced population to their homes, and preserving the cultural and religious heritage of the region.
I kindly ask you to attach this statement to the journal of today’s meeting.
I thank you.