Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian called Azerbaijan a threat to the security and stability of the South Caucasus and accused it of being responsible for the ‘frozen’ conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh as he addressed the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly on Monday.
Armenia’s top diplomat devoted much of his speech to raise concerns about the policy of hatred towards Armenians in Azerbaijan that he said was being promoted “at the very top level”.
“Year after year Armenia has been raising its concerns from this podium over the militaristic rhetoric, blatant violation of international commitments and anti-Armenian hysteria being instilled into the Azerbaijani society from the highest levels of its leadership. Many international organizations on human rights alerted about flagrant cases of xenophobia, racism, intolerance and violations of human rights in Azerbaijan, alerted on the policy of hatred against Armenians,” said Nalbandian.
“What is the Azerbaijani response? It is not only ignoring the expectations of the international community, but is constantly making new and new steps going against the values of civilized world. The latest such case is the Azeri government’s release and glorification of the murderer [Ramil] Safarov, who had slaughtered with an axe an Armenian officer in his sleep, during a NATO program in Budapest simply because he was an Armenian. The Azerbaijani leadership made him a symbol of national pride and an example to follow by youth,” continued the Armenian foreign minister.
Nalbandian stressed that the world reaction was “unanimous” and “very clear” in condemning what was done by Baku. But he added: “The Azerbaijani leadership is continuing to pretend that this act corresponds not only to the Azerbaijani constitution and legislation, but also to the norms and principles of international law, the respective European Convention. The leadership of this country is claiming that what was done is just very good. It is very sad that the constitution and legislation of any country could allow the glorification of a murderer…”
“It is clear that the international community should not tolerate the attempts of the Azerbaijani leadership to adjust the international law to their own racist ideology,” stressed the Armenian official.
Nalbandian also suggested that the Safarov Affair had “seriously undermined” the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiation process and “endangered the fragile regional security and stability”.
“Azerbaijan poses a threat to the security and stability in the region by its constantly menacing to use force against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia along with unprovoked daily war-mongering by its leadership, by not only rejecting the proposals of the three Co-Chair countries on the consolidation of the ceasefire agreement, on the creation of a mechanism of investigation of incidents on the line of contact, but also by systematic ceasefire violations not only on the contact line between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, but also by provocations on the border with Armenia, by ceaseless acts of vandalism towards the Armenian historical and cultural heritage,” said Nalbandian.
“While Armenia together with the international mediators is exerting efforts around the table of negotiations, Azerbaijan is multiplying its military budget, increasing it more than twentyfold during the last few years, and boasting about it. While Armenia and the international community are calling for withdrawal of snipers from the line of contact, Azerbaijani leaders are rejecting it and opening sniper schools for the youth. While Armenia is calling for regional economic cooperation, which could become a tool for increasing confidence between the parties, Azerbaijani authorities are declaring that together with Turkey, they will continue the blockade until there are no more Armenians in Armenia,” he added.
The Armenian foreign minister underscored, however, that regardless of Azerbaijan’s “destructive stance”, Armenia will continue to make efforts towards the settlement of the Karabakh issue “exclusively through peaceful means and on the basis of the purposes, principles and norms reflected in the UN Charter and the international law.”
Nalbandian also used the UN tribune to raise concerns about the worsening of the humanitarian situation in Syria, which directly affects the large Armenian community in this country. He said that Armenia continues to receive refugees from Syria that are “full of worries about the escalation of violence in their country”. “It is impossible to reach a durable settlement without the cessation of hostilities by all parties and without an inclusive political dialogue taking into account the interests of all Syrians,” the Armenian foreign minister stressed.