24 Jan 2018 17:55

Necessary to overcome distrust, solve Karabakh conflict peacefully - Armenian president

YEREVAN. Jan 24 (Interfax) - It is necessary to strictly observe the ceasefire and implement agreements in order to settle the Karabakh conflict, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said.

"The settlement of the Karabakh conflict is overdue. To that end, it is necessary to strictly observe the established ceasefire and implement all previously achieved agreements. The solution should be peaceful and overcome the lack of trust. In this regard, I will always be at the forefront, no matter where I am," Sargsyan said at a plenary session as part of the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

The sides should assume responsibility for the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh process together and achieve a compromise, he said.

"The negotiating process under the aegis of the OSCE Minsk Group is the only internationally approved format for the settlement of this conflict. The international community, including the Council of Europe, has repeatedly voiced support for this format. The obligations assumed by Armenia and Azerbaijan require the joint efforts of all parties to the conflict, but Azerbaijan is clearly not ready. Azerbaijani aggression in 2016 was characterized by flagrant violations of international humanitarian law committed against civilians and prisoners of war. This was a serious blow to the negotiating process," Sargsyan said.

Nagorno-Karabakh continues building democracy and encouraging the protection of human rights, he said.

"In all these endeavors, Armenia will be there for Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh], consistently defend the interests and rights of Artsakh, and facilitate the strengthening of security. There should be no 'grey areas' in Europe with regard to the protection of human rights, as the Council of Europe secretary general said. I hope the day when this organization, with all its expert potential, will be there for Artsakh, is not too distant. Artsakh residents deserve that and earned the right to it long ago," the Armenian president said.

Sargsyan also urged the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to avoid politicized wording while considering Azerbaijani citizens' complaints regarding the settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

"Politicized wording and evaluations in the ECHR's rulings could have a direct negative impact at the negotiating process. The ECHR should be extremely careful in its evaluations and avoid politicized wording," Sargsyan said.