YEREVAN — Azerbaijan’s invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh was a pre-planned aggression, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said at a joint press briefing today with the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau in Yerevan.
Pointing out Azerbaijan’s invasion of the Armenian village of Parukh in Nagorno-Karabakh on March 24, which is in the zone of Russian peacekeepers’ responsibility, Mirzoyan said Azerbaijan takes advantage of geopolitical developments to continue its policy of ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“This tense situation persists to this day. This invasion and incitement of hostilities was preceded by incessant firing towards Armenian settlements and civilian infrastructures. Azerbaijan has disrupted the operation of the only vital gas pipeline that ships natural gas from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh amid harsh winter cold,” he said.
“In this situation, a clear response of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office and the international community becomes imperative, and the involvement of international humanitarian organizations in Nagorno-Karabakh becomes urgent to prevent a humanitarian crisis,” he said.
Mirzoyan said that the OSCE co-chairing countries have already delivered a clear assessment of the latest escalation of the situation in Nagorno Karabakh, confirming that it is a consequence of Azerbaijani troop movements.
Mirzoyan said that Poland’s presidency in OSCE has coincided with the serious security crisis in Europe caused by the military actions in Ukraine. He noted that the situation has attracted much of the OSCE’s attention.
“However, we expect the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict issue to remain on the OSCE agenda,” he said.
Mirzoyan stated that Armenia plans to bring up the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh’s status during upcoming talks on an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty sought by Azerbaijan.
Mirzoyan also said Yerevan hopes that Russia, the United States and France, which co-chair the OSCE Minsk Group, will mediate those talks despite their bitter standoff over the conflict in Ukraine.
“As you know, the Azerbaijani side presented some proposals [on the peace treaty] to the Armenian side and we found those proposals acceptable while saying that they do not fully address the whole scope of issues,” he told reporters. “So we complemented those proposals with our own proposals by adding that the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh’s rights and status is key to us.”
“We hope that the co-presidency of the OSCE Minsk Group will manage after all to organize peace talks with this agenda and with the aim of signing a comprehensive peace treaty,” he added at the joint news conference Zbigniew Rau.
The Armenian FM particularly pointed out that 1.5 years after the end of 44-day war in the conflict zone Azerbaijan continues to violate international humanitarian law, as well as its November 9 trilateral statement, keeping Armenian prisoners of war in captivity.
Mirzoyan noted that during today’s meetings they also discussed problems related to the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
“We also talked about a wide range of regional security and stability issues, priorities and prospects of Poland’s presidency in the CSTO,” he stressed.
The Armenian Foreign Minister also presented to his Polish counterpart the status of Armenian-Turkish normalization talks.