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April 18
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Ambassador Mher Margaryan, Permanent Representative of Armenia to the UN, on Wednesday addressed at the UN Security Council Open Debate, entitled “The impact of climate change and food insecurity on the maintenance of international peace and security,” informed the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the UN. Margaryan stated as follows, in particular:

“The challenges stemming from environmental issues are complex and diverse, increasing the risks and vulnerabilities for global food systems and posing threats to the maintenance of international peace and security, with the use of food resources being increasingly exploited as a tool of coercion in situations of armed conflict. The use of starvation as a method of warfare represents a blatant violation of the international humanitarian law, as does the denial of humanitarian assistance to populations affected by conflict and crisis.

In his briefing, the Secretary-General emphasized the need for all parties to conflicts to abide by the tenets of the international humanitarian law, yet we have seen constant violations of these and other humanitarian principles in different corners of the world, including in our region. Notably, we have come to observe the utilization and misappropriation of climate change and environmental agenda in our immediate neighborhood.

For many months, Azerbaijan manipulated disingenuous environmental agenda to justify the imposition of a total blockade on a population of 120,000 people in Nagorno-Karabakh, in gross violation of the international humanitarian law. Notwithstanding the order of the International Court of Justice issued in February and reaffirmed in July 2023, which obliged Azerbaijan to “take all measures at its disposal to ensure unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles and cargo along the Lachin Corridor in both directions”, Azerbaijan has failed to implement the Court’s legally binding Order, opting, instead, for manipulative misinterpretations in order to perpetuate the conditions of a man-made humanitarian crisis. The blockade, which was imposed on the ethnic Armenian population since December 2022, culminated in September last year with the use of deadly military action against civilian population, in realization of the criminal goal of conducting ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh.

We have been consistently alerting the UN and this very Council that, emboldened by the results of the use of force in the past, Azerbaijan has been seeking to normalize violence and aggression in order to engage in the acquisition of territories by force, to impose unilateral solutions and to resolve international disputes through military means. Azerbaijan’s repeated transgressions, including the armed attacks against Armenia’s territory in May 2021 and September 2022, have led to significant ecological damage. Those acts of aggression have brought about forest fires and land degradation and included an attack against a water reservoir with potentially devastating humanitarian and environmental consequences.

Azerbaijan continues to justify its unlawful conduct with unfounded land mine accusations - a claim that has been twice rejected by the International Court of Justice. Armenia has made all the possible efforts to revisit and update the information it has in its possession regarding the presence and distribution of landmines in the territories, which, for many years, have been characterized by the dynamic of shifting control lines. Despite being under no legal obligation to do so, Armenia has recently presented a comprehensive package of the reviewed landmines data as a gesture of good will, and we have invited the relevant international partners to participate in the verification of the accuracy of all the available information.

(…)

In December 2023, as part of an agreement and as a confidence building measure, Armenia withdrew its bid to host COP29 and lifted objections for the nomination of Azerbaijan. We note that hosting this major international event on climate comes with a set of responsibilities and requires a spirit of constructive cooperation. Regrettably, we have come to observe further transgressions and violence, contrary to the spirit of the agreed arrangement.

Only yesterday, on the night of 13 February, Azerbaijan conducted an armed attack against the territory of Armenia, which resulted in human losses. Such brazen transgressions demonstrate, time and again, that Azerbaijan has no intention of complying with the international law, as also evidenced by its consistent denial to comply with the eight provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice in the period of 2021-2023.

It is incumbent upon the UN Security Council, which is entrusted with the maintenance of international peace and security, to take effective measures and to ensure that justice can be served and that breaches of international law can be essentially prevented in the future. Manifestly, failure to do so only serves the interests of those who seek to undermine the viability of international law and to challenge the integrity and credibility of the international legal system.

The United Nations has the ultimate responsibility to uphold compliance, ensure justice and accountability and to fight impunity, to the pursuit of which Armenia is fully committed.”

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