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February 21
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The thesis of the need to prepare societies for peace during the process of conflict settlement is a commonplace truth of sorts, said Artsakh Foreign Minister Masis Mayilian in an interview to Medimax

According to him, the process of settlement of the conflict between Artsakh and Azerbaijan had periods when the leaders were considered to be moving closer towards a peace agreement than their respective societies and “that is why there were calls for preparations for peace.”

“However, the attempts to put an equal sign between the moods in Armenia and Artsakh on one side and the moods in Azerbaijan on the other are completely inappropriate in the current stage of Artsakh-Azerbaijan conflict. Both Armenia and Artsakh have gone further towards the preparations for peace and Azerbaijan now needs to catch up, take the long path that Azerbaijani authorities have been avoiding at all costs. 

Official Baku not only failed to prepare its society to peace, but actually moved in the opposite direction. Azerbaijan is actively installing xenophobia against Armenians at the state level; it encourages hate crimes against Armenians, lauds individuals guilty of hate crimes, hinders public peacemaking initiatives and threatens Artsakh with war, keeps trying to isolate Artsakh, and so on. 

This policy casts doubts over the entire settlement process and pushes is backwards, the same it did before. Azerbaijani authorities have to cease the hate campaign and make real effort to root out the negative phenomena that rose in Azerbaijani society as a result of many years of instilled intolerance against Armenians,” he said.

Asked to comment whether there are prerequisites for trust between the parties, the FM noted that official Stepanakert often comes forward with initiatives aimed at building trust between the sides, while Azerbaijan always responds with threats.

“The atmosphere of trust is a pillar of any conflict settlement. However, experience shows that measures for trust building can be effective only if the irreversibility of peaceful settlement is secured and the process includes international mechanisms guaranteeing non-renewal of military actions.

Obviously, you can hardly expect Azerbaijan to take real steps towards building trust when that country is actually hindering introduction of international mechanisms of control over the ceasefire regime, including the measures agreed at Vienna and St. Petersburg summits in 2016,” the FM concluded.

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