Blockade and threat of force make genuine dialogue with Azerbaijan impossible – Artsakh MFA

(Armradio) – The Republic of Artsakh is most interested in finding a comprehensive solution to the conflict with Azerbaijan through dialogue and peaceful negotiations aimed at establishing lasting and just peace in the region, the Foreign Ministry said in а statement.

The comments come after a number of Russian media outlets quoted sources as saying that Washington was forcing representatives of Nagorno Karabakh to meet with representatives of Azerbaijan in a third country.

“After the end of the 44-day war, there have already been attempts of such contacts to resolve a number of pressing issues. In particular, several meetings were held between representatives of Artsakh and Azerbaijan through the mediation of the Russian Peacekeeping Contingent, during which humanitarian, infrastructural and other technical issues aimed at ensuring conditions for the normal and peaceful life of the people were discussed,” the Ministry said.

“Before the blockade of Artsakh by Azerbaijan, thanks to the meetings held with the mediation of the Russian Peacekeeping Contingent, specific results were achieved on issues of identifying the fate of the missing and searching for the remains of the dead, ensuring the normal functioning of vital infrastructures, organizing agricultural work and others. The last meeting in this format was held on 1 March 2023, during which issues related to ending the transport and energy blockade of Artsakh were discussed,” it added.

However, the Ministry said, the Azerbaijani side first refused to implement the agreements reached during the meeting, and then resorted to various provocations and aggressive actions, consistently rejecting all subsequent proposals of the Republic of Artsakh  to continue the meetings in this format.

“The authorities of the Republic of Artsakh have repeatedly stated that for the resumption of the peace process, it is necessary to restore the internationally recognized negotiation format, within which it would be possible to discuss all disputes and differences based on the principles of good faith, co-operation and equal rights of the parties. At the same time, this mechanism must be inclusive and representative, and have the potential and authority to ensure the implementation of the agreements reached and the commitments undertaken by the parties,” the statement reads.

The Foreign Ministry noted that the role of international mediators should not be limited to providing good offices, but should be aimed at more active involvement in the process of finding fair, balanced and viable solutions to existing problems, creating favorable conditions to conduct dialogue with dignity, as well as ensuring Azerbaijan’s compliance with the norms and principles of international law and the provisions of the UN Charter.

“In this context, we reiterate the importance of using the potential and experience of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship, as well as the effective co-operation of all major actors involved in the peaceful settlement of the conflict,” the Ministry stated.

“In this regard, we attach primary importance to the collective and individual efforts of the international community aimed at creating normal living conditions in Artsakh, ending its transport and energy blockade, removing the illegally installed Azerbaijani checkpoint and ensuring the unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles and cargo along the Lachin Corridor in both directions, in accordance with the Trilateral Statement of 9 November 2020 and the Order of the International Court of Justice of 22 February 2023,” it added.

“It is obvious that in the conditions of the ongoing severe blockade of Artsakh and the increasing threat of the use of force and ethnic cleansing, when the 120,000 people of Artsakh are in fact in a hostage situation, genuine dialogue to discuss ways of a political settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict is unrealistic,” the Foreign Ministry concluded.

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