MUNICH, Germany — President Serzh Sarkisian participated in Munich Security Conference event on February 17 focusing on nations “in-between Russia and Europe” that featured alongside Sarkisian, Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip, EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn, and Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachyov.

Speaking about Karabakh conflict, Sarkisian said that Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijani president, recently called Yerevan and Zangezur historic Azerbaijani territories adding that return of these territories is Azerbaijan’s strategic and political goal.

“Azerbaijan’s position regarding the Nagorno Karabakh issue is a flagrant violation of the Helsinki spirit. It is particularly evident in the recently-launched election campaign,” he said. “President Aliyev uttered territorial claims reaching as far as Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, calling it a historically Azerbaijani territory – nothing but delirium – which can have serious consequences if Europe turns a blind eye to it.

The Nagorno Karabakh issue must be resolved as soon as possible, and by peaceful means. This mission of ours is led by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, namely the Russian Federation, France, and the United States of America.”

Sarkisian pointed out three principles of international law – non-use of force or threat to use force, peoples’ equality and right to self-determination, and territorial integrity – that have been proposed by them as the cornerstones of the peace process.

“The efforts to resolve the Nagorno Karabakh issue can serve as an example of how Russia, the EU, and the US can positively coordinate their positions for the benefit of international peace and security,” Sarkisian said.

“We desire to see more frequent manifestations of such common positions. It is especially important, since conflicts in all corners of the world are increasing and expanding. We are concerned by the sweeping changes taking place in the Middle East and elsewhere, which are accompanied by neverending wars. We are concerned by the state failure and disintegration of a number of countries. We need to think of cooperative, comprehensive, and indivisible security, so as to effectively respond to those challenges. This is the only possible and realistic way to overcome the current crises.” Sarkisian concluded.

When the panel moved to questions from the audience, Sadi Jafarov, a first secretary at the Azerbaijani Embassy in Berlin suggested to Sarkisian that Armenia could have played a role in regional energy and transport projects if not for the standoff over Nagorno-Karabakh. Jafarov also denounced what he called the “occupation” of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia.

Sarkisian thanked Jafarov for the question before saying that Azerbaijani’s leadership needed to “sober up” and “give up on their unrealistic expectations” concerning Nagorno-Karabakh.

“You want to live freely. I assure you, the people of Karabakh want to live freely, too,” Sarkisian said. “They want to live in their historical land.”

He defended a 1991 referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh to secede from Azerbaijan as a “civilized” and legitimate expression of popular will, adding that no one can “break the will of the Armenian people.”

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