24 Sep 2021 21:34

Path to peace in S. Caucasus to be difficult, Armenia ready for dialogue - Pashinyan

YEREVAN. Sept 24 (Interfax) - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly that Armenia is ready to start an era of peaceful development for the South Caucasus and noted the importance of developing regional communications.

"So, how are we going to achieve the goal of opening an era of peaceful development for our country and the region? Through dialogue, overcoming incrementally the atmosphere of painful hostility in our region. We realize that the path will be difficult and long," Pashinyan said.

He pointed to the importance of opening regional communications, which was stated in the ninth paragraph of the trilateral statement signed by the presidents of the Russian Federation and Azerbaijan, and the prime minister of Armenia on November 9, 2020 and the statement signed on January 11, 2021.

"The interconnected transport arteries of the region will be an outcome of resolving this issue. Opportunity will be created for establishing economic ties, which is one of the important prerequisites for peaceful development," Pashinyan said.

It was discovered while examining the subject of opening roads that there are options aimed at fostering regional isolation and hostility, but there are also options that emphasize that the region is interconnected and can be a step-by-step solution to the hostility issue, Pashinyan said.

"We are an advocate for the latter option. If the railway connecting Armenia to Turkey is opened too, then the topic of opening regional communications will cover broader scope," the Armenian premier said.

Armenia is ready for a constructive dialogue which should lead to the establishment of sustainable and lasting peace in the region, he said.

"In this regard, we propose to complete the process of return of prisoners of war, hostages and other captives [from Azerbaijan] without delay. It is also necessary to resume the peace process for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the auspices of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] Minsk Group Co-Chairs," Pashinyan said.

A situation created by the use of force cannot gain legitimacy in terms of international law, he said.

"The right of the people of Artsakh [Armenian name for Nagorno-Karabakh] to self-determination cannot be suspended through the use of force; the conflict cannot be considered resolved through the use of force. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is awaiting its just settlement. This is evidenced by the statements of the Co-Chair countries, which emphasize the need to resume the negotiation process based on the well-known principles. We believe that the contacts mediated by the Co-Chairs will enable the parties to find common ground, and to open avenues for addressing many difficult issues," Pashinyan said.

Speaking of the issue of delimitation and demarcation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, Pashinyan said that it is difficult to imagine a border delimitation process against the backdrop of "almost daily shootings and various provocations on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, on the backdrop of units of the armed forces of Azerbaijan having infiltrated the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia on May 12, 2021 in the Sotk-Khoznavar section".

"To overcome this situation, we have suggested the following actions: in the above mentioned section, the armed forces of both Armenia and Azerbaijan should withdraw simultaneously to the Soviet times border, international observers would be deployed along that border and under international auspices we would start delimitation and demarcation. We are ready to implement this proposal at any time," he said.

He also pointed out that the war in Nagorno-Karabakh in the fall of 2020 was stopped owing to the mediation efforts of Russia.