The January 2020meeting in Geneva was complementing our work. Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan stated this in an interview with Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) TV.
"Over the past two years, we have been in quite dynamic processes in terms of a peaceful settlement, to work under the auspices of the [OSCE] Minsk Group Co-Chairs and through their mediation, the whole volume, the package of the peace settlement with the Azerbaijani side, on many issues related to the most important and priority issues for us, which stem from the comprehensive, stable, lasting security system and, most importantly, the status of Artsakh, too.
At the same time, we have a very important and fundamental issue, which refers to the formation of an appropriate environment in which a peaceful settlement takes place, and which involves both reducing the risks of escalation, human contacts, and preparing people for peace.
And finally, the third important, very important direction: The more direct participation of the elected authorities of Artsakh and the people of Artsakh in the peace process. At the same time, it is very important to maintain and strengthen the sense of ownership in Artsakh toward the peaceful settlement in the sense that, in the end, the issue concerns Artsakh, the people of Artsakh, and the settlement first of all concerns them.
In all three directions, we have had quite active work with the Co-Chairs and the Azerbaijani side. Our last meeting took place in January 2020 in Geneva, and this meeting was complementing our work in this period and was outlining our next steps, which were to some extent were undermined by this pandemic. However, our constant contact with the Co-Chairs remains uninterrupted, and on the other hand, we were able to hold two videoconferences with both the Co-Chairs and the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, and it was very important in that the contact is maintained. We are always in touch, and we work on all the issues that can be addressed now," said the FM of Armenia.
To the remark that recently the Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan stated that they used the time of calm to strengthen their positions on the frontline and are now ready, Mnatsakanyan said: "This reflects the rhetoric, and we have addressed this issue. The Armenian side, Artsakh is more than determined to protect its security, its right to life, its freedom. Armenia has been and remains the only guarantor of Artsakh's security and freedom. Both Armenia and Artsakh have enough potential to defend, defend themselves, and the ‘language’ of threats is strongly rejected by the Armenian parties [to the conflict].
The Armenian parties are also ready and are doing their best to strengthen the defense; this is an ongoing and permanent process. ‘Shooting with one hand, negotiating with the other;’ such a formula is ineffective and unacceptable and is rejected.”
Asked whether Yerevan's plans to restore Stepanakert's direct participation in the negotiation process have changed, the FM answered: "This is a very important, principled issue for us, and above all, it is a practical issue if we are really focused on an effective peace process, the implementation of this function in terms of ensuring direct efficiency,
Artsakh's participation in the process is a practical issue. This in no way diminishes Armenia's responsibility and obligations in this process, but it ensures much clearer effectiveness in ensuring real progress in the peace process.”