YEREVAN (ArmInfo) – The Ministry of Justice of Armenia issued a statement regarding the “false and misleading theses” which were voiced about the work of the Commission on the delimitation of the state border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the process carried out in the Tavush region.

The Ministry of Justice of Armenia considers false the thesis that the government is changing the territory of the Republic of Armenia,  the territories of the Tavush region are being transferred to  Azerbaijan, the territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia is  being violated, which is a criminal offense. Changing the state  border can only be carried out through a referendum. As stated in the  Ministry of Justice, there can be no question of transferring any  part of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia to another  state under any circumstances. The territory of the Republic of  Armenia was de jure formed after the collapse of the USSR in 1991,  based on the principles established by the Alma-Ata Declaration and  the Minsk Agreements. The ongoing process concerns not the change of  territory, but the re-establishment of the state border. The process  is carried out based on legally valid maps and documents existing at  the time of the collapse of the USSR, and under these maps, the issue  of “transferring” any territory belonging to Soviet Armenia and,  therefore, the Republic of Armenia, under the possession of another  country has not been discussed and cannot be discussed.

The Ministry of Justice also considers false the thesis that the 4  villages on the territory of which demarcation is being carried out,  belongs to the Republic of Armenia until the contrary is proven  during the demarcation process.

The department believes that according to the maps legally in force  during the existence of the USSR, the 4 villages under discussion  belonged to Soviet Azerbaijan. In addition, these 4 villages have  never been among the administrative-territorial units, regions, and  communities existing on the territory of the Republic of Armenia.

The Ministry of Justice also considers as false the third thesis that  the requirements of the RA Law “On State Border” are violated, an  agreement on changing the territory can only be reached through  international treaties. The Ministry believes that no process of  changing the territory and borders of the Republic of Armenia is  being carried out. The process being implemented is the reproduction  of the state border in accordance with relevant international  agreements. The statement notes that the agreement reached between  the commissions is about agreeing on a certain section of the border  line by May 15, as well as an appeal to the Government about the  simultaneous deployment of border troops in this section.  The Press  release issued following the meeting of the commissions indicated  that the demarcation in 4 villages is preliminary, until the  demarcation process is fully completed. And the document confirming  the complete completion of the demarcation process should already be  an international agreement on the state border between Armenia and  Azerbaijan, which will be subject to ratification by the National  Assembly of the Republic of Armenia

The Ministry of Justice also considers false the thesis that the  demarcation of the area by installing border pillars is carried out  without delimitation on the map, which is a violation of the  agreement reached between the commissions of Armenia and Azerbaijan  on April 19. The Ministry of Justice notes that the installation of  the pillars is carried out based on maps agreed upon by the parties,  a working group that was formed specifically to draw up a draft  description, and there are no disagreements between the working  groups of the two countries in the areas where the pillars are  installed.  The Ministry of Justice also considers incorrect the  following thesis that the RA Border Delimitation Commission is an  advisory body, there are no documents regarding its activities, and  the Commission does not have the right to make any decisions. In its  response, the Ministry states that the commission was formed by the  order of the RA Prime Minister, and later, by the decision of the  Government, the procedure for organizing and holding meetings and  joint working meetings between the commissions of the two countries  was approved. At the same time, according to the agreement reached  between the commissions, the delimitation process they will be guided  by the Almaty Declaration of 1991, that is, the activities of the  commissions are based on international treaties that have already  been adopted by both countries and have undergone appropriate  domestic procedures.

Finally, the Ministry of Justice calls on experts and other persons  interested in the process to refrain from disseminating misleading  and false information to the public.

Meanwhile, we note that experts, including independent ones, express  the opinion that Azerbaijan does not consider itself the legal  successor of Soviet Azerbaijan and, after the forceful takeover of  Artsakh, began to promote the narrative of the so-called “Western  Azerbaijan,” where the entire territory of the Republic of Armenia is  presented as Azerbaijani territory.

Moreover, experts believe, the Alma-Ata Declaration, according to  cartographers and historians, cannot serve as a basis for the  delimitation and demarcation of the border, since this document was  declarative under which there is not a single real map. According to  experts, to carry out demarcation and delimitation work, an  obligatory condition is to indicate the map based on which these  works are carried out. Moreover, it should also be noted that the  Alma-Ata Declaration states that the USSR ceases to exist, and in its  place the Commonwealth of Independent States will be formed, which  now includes former union republics that recognize and respect each  other’s territorial integrity and the inviolability of existing  borders on the moment of signing the declaration of borders. But at  the time of signing this document, all the territories that the  Armenian government intends to unilaterally transfer to Azerbaijan  were part of the Republic of Armenia. Moreover, Azerbaijan itself  joined this declaration in 1993 alone.

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