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May 23
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Protection of historical and cultural monuments is an important task and it becomes quite acute in conflict zones in particular. I think it’s very important here that we create an atmosphere of confidence in the region and overcome the atmosphere of hostility. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated this in an interview with several members of the UK media—and addressing the question of whether he can describe the destruction that has been going on to Armenian churches, crosses, and tombstones.

"Because after all, with the negative attitude towards the historical and cultural monuments and legacy, people are actually expressing hostility towards one another. This is not a living creation, it’s a monument, you might think why, what is the need for attacking a breathless monument and damaging it, but it’s the people’s way of expressing their hostility towards one another.

And the solution to that problem is again through overcoming hostility. Of course, these monuments, especially the churches, have a history, spirit, they are places of worship, sacred places, and desecrating them is a manifestation of hostility. So, we cannot say let the hostility go on, grow deeper, but we protect the monuments. That’s impossible.

The security of monuments can be protected if people do not feel hostility when they look at these monuments, or at least they feel a manageable degree of hostility to not set the bar too high. I think of that as part of the peace agenda.

There is another dangerous theory there, that the movement for the preservation of monuments and being consistent in that issue is very important, but it is also important that this process is not used for intensifying hostility," Pashinyan stated.

He added that if they do not want this hostility to go deeper, they need to follow-up with the implementation of the peace agenda, because that’s not a stand-alone issue, it is part of the parcel of this peace agenda.

"I see the solution to all these issue by going back to Armenia-Azerbaijan peace agenda with the three fundamental principles upon which peace should be built. The three main principles of peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan have already been documented. They are as follows: firstly, Armenia and Azerbaijan recognize each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity on the bases of the 1991 Alma-Ata declaration, secondly, Armenia and Azerbaijan take the Alma-Ata declaration as the political basis for the delimitation process and thirdly, regional communications will be opened under sovereignty and jurisdiction of states, based on the principle of reciprocity and equality. This third principle is articulated in our Crossroad of Peace initiative, which is an important instrument for overcoming animosity, along with the first two principles," the Armenian premier emphasized.

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