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Our Delegation Made It Clear That It is Impossible to Have the Same Approach Towards All Conflicts: Hermine Naghdalyan (EXCLUSIVE)

On February 23 the work of the winter session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly ended in Vienna. "Armedia" IAA talked with the head of the Armenian delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, RA NA deputy, Hermine Naghdalyan on the discussions of the last day of the session.


- Mrs. Naghdalyan, OSCE PA has completed its winter session. What topics were discussed on the last day of the session?

- On the second day of the winter session of the OSCE PA, the work of the general committees continued, and a meeting of the Committee on Political Affairs and Security was convened. The main focus was on security issues and on those developments in the OSCE region, which violate security processes. I also spoke on security issues. In my speech, I again reminded everyone about the closure of the OSCE Yerevan office, which was done against the will of Armenia, and thus hampered and limited the possibilities of cooperation with the OSCE. I also touched upon the issue of how we see the OSCE's participation in the Karabakh conflict settlement process, stressing that it is unacceptable for us that the OSCE PA representatives take part in discussions of a particular issue on the Karabakh conflict settlement without talking directly with the representatives of Artsakh - both the authorities of Artsakh and its population.

I also noted that, in our opinion, when working directly with the Artsakh people, they will have a useful contribution to the settlement of the problem to some extent. In this context, I stressed that the reverse approach on this issue is incomprehensible for us, since the cornerstone for the work of the Parliamentarians should be the Bishkek ceasefire agreement, which was signed in 1994 by the parliaments of Armenia, Artsakh and Azerbaijan. That is, at that time Azerbaijan already accepted and recognized the Artsakh parliament as an authorized and legitimate participant in these processes.

I also talked about the fact that there is a negotiating format for the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, which is the only legal format adopted by the international community. As for Turkey's becoming OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairing country, I stressed that it is impossible, because Ankara has a prejudiced approach towards one of the participants in the conflict, i.e. Azerbaijan, in the sense of protecting its interests. That is, Turkey cannot participate in the process of the Karabakh conflict settlement as a mediator. Later, the speech of the delegate of Turkey once again confirmed what we said. The delegate of Turkey stated that they supported and will continue supporting Azerbaijan.

In my speech, I also touched upon the process of forming confidence building measures, noting that contacts between public organizations, journalists and representatives of other spheres are of course important, but this is unrealistic in case of Azerbaijan as everyone knows what kind of situation is in Azerbaijan in connection with civil society and press freedom.


- How would you assess the work of the Armenian delegation on the second day of the session?

- On the last day of the OSCE PA session, our delegation was also quite active. We made 7 speeches. Karen Bekaryan made a very important speech during the discussion on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons. He stressed that if there is no democracy in the country, there are no democratic institutions, then it is impossible to talk about people's control.

In his speech, he also touched upon the thesis voiced by the Azerbaijani delegates that an identical approach should be developed regarding all conflicts. Mr. Bekaryan once again defeated this approach, justifying it by the fact that conflicts have different legal and political aspects, and there cannot be an identical approach towards all conflicts. At the same time, he stressed that the Helsinki principles on the non-use of force and threat of force, the right of nations to self-determination and territorial integrity are applicable to all conflicts. Once again, the need to respect and support existing formats was emphasized.

Karen Bekaryan also spoke at the discussion on migration issues. He presented Armenia's participation in the process of accepting refugees, once again stressing that in relation to the number of the population we are the third country in Europe in accepting Syrian refugees, that our consulate is the only one that still works in Aleppo. Mr. Bekaryan made one very important proposal, which was accepted with enthusiasm by the speakers. He proposed introducing a mechanism for premature prediction of migration problems, involving academics and civil society in this process.

Questions were also discussed about the fight against terrorism. Our delegate Ararat Mirzoyan noted that the fight against terrorism should not be used as an excuse for violating the rights of ethnic minorities, referring to Turkey's actions in Afrin against the Kurds.

Tigran Urikhanyan, in turn, referred to tools used in the virtual space in order to promote terrorism, recalling that Armenia took the initiative in introducing the draft resolution on cybersecurity, including its terrorist manifestations.

In the end, I should add that the composition of the Armenian delegation to the OSCE PA is completely new, and this is the third session that we are working together. We set very serious tasks in front of us and carry out work towards their implementation. We establish active contacts with delegates from all the participating countries. Cooperating with them, we try to present them the positions of Armenia on important issues for us.


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