Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan participated in the online sitting of the Council of Heads of State of the CIS, which was also attended by the leaders of the CIS countries.
The Prime Minister delivered a speech, referring to the cooperation within the CIS, the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and the processes taking place in our region. In his speech, Nikol Pashinyan particularly noted,
In this jubilee year of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the presidency is held by Belarus, which, despite a number of epidemiological constraints, has made every effort to promote cooperation. The 30th anniversary is a good opportunity to exchange views on the results of the work done, to outline the ways of further development of the organization. The role and capacity of the organization have been viewed differently at different stages.
We support the Statement on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the CIS. It not only assesses the activity of the organization, but also outlines the directions of its further development. The ways of cooperation are outlined, including in the fields of "green" economy, digitalization, industrial cooperation, innovative technologies, efficient use of natural and economic resources, support for SMEs. One of the strong sides of the CIS has always been cooperation on humanitarian issues, which, among other things, provides a link between the past and the future. A proof of this is, for example, the annual youth contest "100 ideas for the CIS countries", which was recently held in the regional center of Syunik Province of Armenia, in the city of Kapan. We are pleased to support the decision to declare the Moldovan city of Comrat the Cultural Capital of the Commonwealth in 2023.
We also support the statements on citizens' biological security, migration and protection of family rights, and guarantees for electoral sovereignty of the Commonwealth countries.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to share with you my assessments of the situation in our region after last year's war and present to you my views on its future.
As you all know, due to the mediation efforts of the Russian Federation, it was possible to achieve a cessation of hostilities in Nagorno Karabakh on November 9, 2020. According to the trilateral declaration signed as a result of Moscow's mediation efforts, Russian peacekeepers have been deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh to ensure its security. The Russian Federation and personally President Putin played a key role in putting an end to the 44-day war. Today, they continue to play an important role in maintaining peace in the region. We express gratitude for those efforts and fully share the philosophy on which they are based.
Our region today is on the threshold of very important transformations. In the presence of political will and prudency, they can change the current picture and lead to real peace and stability. We are ready for such changes. Moreover, they coincide with our vision for the future.
In its Action Plan, the Armenian Government has defined a goal to open "a new era of peaceful development for our country and our region." And we received the mandate to achieve this fundamental goal by winning the early parliamentary elections in June this year.
However, there are many factors that call into question the possibility of peace in our region. Despite all the political efforts and despite the trilateral declaration, people continue to die on the in Nagorno Karabakh and on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. In this regard, I propose strengthening the trilateral mechanisms of investigating incidents and adhering to the cessarion of all kinds of military operations. The rhetoric of enmity, hatred, constant threats and provocations have become commonplace for us. Many not only do not believe, but do not want peace and stability in our region. And in these conditions, it is very difficult to advance the peace agenda. But we are determined and we will do our best to achieve peace and stability in our region, we have a clear idea of how to achieve this goal.
Dialogue, the gradual overcoming of the atmosphere of hostility that unfortunately exists in our region, the unblocking of all regional transport and economic communications is the only way, which, in our opinion, can lead this goal. In this context, it is very important to fulfill the agreements reached in the trilateral statements of November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021.
I would like to inform you that within the framework of the trilateral working group co-chaired by the Deputy Prime Ministers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, we are working in the direction of opening all transport communications and hope to achieve concrete results in the near future.
This means that Armenia will get a railway and road connection with Russia, a railway connection with Iran through the territory of Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan will get a railway and road connection with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic through the territory of Armenia.
It is very important to note that we support the scenarios of the opening of transport communication, which will become not a method or symbol of isolation and enmity, but of establishment of peace.
For achieving any progress on economic or political issues, the atmosphere in which they are discussed is crucial. I have to state here with regret that despite the 8th point of the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020, Azerbaijan has not yet returned all Armenian prisoners of war, hostages or other detainees. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this statement refers not only to prisoners of war, but also to hostages and other detainees. This is a purely humanitarian issue, and we hope to solve it as soon as possible.
In this context, I would like to assure you that Armenia is ready to complete the transfer of maps of minefields to Azerbaijan, which are located behind the Azerbaijani armed forces, that is, pose a humanitarian threat. There are other factors that negatively affect the already tense situation in our region. In particular, I would like to draw your attention to the existence of the so-called “trophy park” in the capital of Azerbaijan. There was such a practice: Visitors could "admire the mannequins" depicting captured, killed or bleeding Armenian soldiers. It is even more disappointing that excursions for Azerbaijani schoolchildren are organized there, who proudly take selfies and post them on social networks. Recently, we learned that the mannequins and helmets of our dead soldiers were taken out of the park, and at least, this is not bad.
Another important issue for achieving lasting peace is the demarcation and delimitation of the borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We are ready to start this process, and we expect the support of Russia and our other international partners in this matter. I should mention here that a favorable atmosphere is very important for overcoming the existing obstacles. However, it is difficult to imagine demarcation and delimitation work of the borders that have recently been violated by Azerbaijan, where shootings are heard almost regularly. In particular, I mean the Sotk-Khoznavar section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
We have repeatedly proposed to carry out a simultaneous withdrawal of armed units in that area, taking into account the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which is legally defined and registered on the maps of the USSR. Russian border guards and / or international observers may be deployed along this border. This mechanism has received the support of the Russian Federation, and we are waiting for the resumption of work in this direction.
Of course, the main issue is the signing of a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan. To this end, we consider it important to resume the negotiation process within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. In recent months, the Co-Chairs have repeatedly stated in their statements the need to resume the peace process for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In the context of the Co-Chairs' activities, we note with satisfaction the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, which took place in New York within the framework of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly. We welcome and note with satisfaction yesterday's meeting of the Foreign Ministers, which took place in Minsk through the mediation of the Russian Foreign Minister. The upcoming visit of the Co-Chairs to the region and Nagorno Karabakh will be an important step.
I would like to emphasize once again that Armenia is ready to work in all the directions I have mentioned. We are confident that resolving all these issues will ensure a significant progress in building lasting peace in our region.
And I must say that the starting of talks to normalize our relations with Turkey is another factor that can play a catalytic role in this issue. In this regard, I must say that the Russian Federation has expressed readiness to fully support this process.
I do not think this platform is a convenient place to analyze our shared history. Let me inform you that Armenia and Azerbaijan have filed lawsuits to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, where the process has now begun. I think that in the context of that process, all the accusations that Armenia has can be voiced. In any case, we are going to do it to substantiate our position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
I can not bypass the statement on drug trafficking, which, as it was mentioned, is "organized" by Armenia and Iran. I would like to note that we work very closely with the Iranian law enforcement agencies, we very effectivley fight against drug trafficking. I can present figures that show that the number of arrests in drug trafficking cases and the volume of confiscated drugs have increased three-fold, four-fold or even more. This shows that the law enforcement agencies of Armenia and Iran are cooperating very closely and effectively against drug trafficking.
In conclusion, taking into account the transfer of the presidency from Minsk to Nur-Sultan, I would like to wish Kazakhstan a successful presidency, to which, I am sure, both the member states and the CIS Executive Committee headed by the Honorable Sergey Lebedev are ready to contribute. Thanks for attention".