Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenian Republic Edward Nalbandian has given an exclusive interview to the Austrian news agency. Following is the full text of interview.
– Mr. Minister, efforts aimed at establishment of peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan made during years have been in vain. How one can reach a result in those negotiations?
– Azerbaijan refuses all suggestions of Minsk group Co-Chairs, Russia, USA and France regarding the peaceful resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It refuses even initiations aimed at trust strengthening, including strengthening of ceasefire, withdrawal of snipers and creation of investigation mechanism on the violation of ceasefire. They have an illusion that with the help of revenues from petrol and gas they can buy everything: friends on international arena and beneficial resolutions for them. Why the settlement process hasn’t succeeded till now. Because international community and Azerbaijan speak different languages. While we have gathered in Vienna to promote the dialogue between civilizations, civilizational abyss between Azerbaijan and international community is deepening. Higher officials of Azerbaijan propagate intolerance, hatred, war and proclaim racist murderers as heroes. And what about supporters of peace and solidarity, like in Akram Ailisli’s case, they threaten to cut off his ear.
– Doesn’t NKR issue in some point depend on such regional country as Turkey, which has a partial position regarding the conflict?
– It does, Turkey is unilaterally advocating Azerbaijan. And naturally it cannot have the role of mediator in this process. If Turkey has a willing to promote peaceful settlement, it would be better, not to intervene in this process at all. The reason that the peaceful settlement hasn’t been reached till now is the destructive policy of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani side believes that use of force, military resolution may be a possible option. Though, of course, war is not a resolution and there is no other option but negotiating process.
– It seemed there was a tendency for the settlement of Armenian-Turkish relations in 2009. Appropriate protocols haven’t been ratified by Ankara. What was the reason of the failure?
– We reached an agreement. Armenian-Turkish protocols were signed in Zurich, nevertheless, Turkish side refused to ratify and implement those agreements. Actually, Turkey refuses the most important pacta sund servant principle of international relations, that agreements have to be respected. Positions of Armenia and international community are the same-Turkey should respect agreements, ratify and implement protocols without any preconditions.
– Why are You demanding Turkey to recognize Armenian Genocide committed about 100 years ago?
– In this issue we are responsible to humanity, in order to prevent repetitions of new genocides, crimes against humanity. Genocides must be recognized, condemned, their denial must not be tolerated. This is the way. This is not only the issue of Armenian nation, but of the all humankind. This is an issue of respect for fundamental human rights and international law.
– Austria hasn’t qualified those Turkish actions as Genocide till nowadays. Are you disappointed?
– We hope that Austria, as well as other countries of Europe and world will recognize it.
– What about the progress over negotiations on Association Agreement with the European Union?
– We have recorded a visible progress over negotiation on Association Agreement, including negotiations on establishment of deep and comprehensive free trade zone. We hope to complete negotiations till Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November. We signed visa facilitation regime agreement with EU on December, so that EU citizens may visit Armenia without visa.
– According to evaluations of OSCE observers, presidential elections of Armenia, held on February, were generally free and fair. Though observers have pointed out some shortcomings mainly the issue of separation of state institutions and the ruling party.
-You are right; observers have given positive evaluations to the elections. They were unanimous that elections were an important step forward. Suggestions on improvements of election process were also made. We will attentively examine the proposals and will initiate all needed steps in order to implement appropriate reforms aimed at the improvement of electoral system.
Important reforms have been implemented in Armenia recently, in a result of which, our country has leading positions in some international rankings, including freedom of press, business environment and other spheres. We are determined to continue the reform process.