Question: The MFA of Azerbaijan issued a statement wherein it accused the Armenian side of killing of one of its soldiers and claimed that Armenia intended to undermine the negotiation process and that the calls of the Armenian side for the establishment of an environment conducive to peace are false. How would you comment on this?
Anna Naghdalyan. It was Armenia who put forward the proposal to establish an environment conducive for negotiations, and the Armenian side cannot reject its own proposal. The agreements reached in Dushanbe were aimed at the establishment of precisely this environment and these agreements have been generally respected. Armenia and Artsakh remain faithful to their commitments.
As you know, Artsakh categorically denied the information on the killing of a soldier circulated by the Azerbaijani side, and it would have been appropriate for the Azerbaijani side to conduct an internal investigation and reveal the reality over the alleged incident before issuing accusatory statements.
If the mechanisms for investigating ceasefire violations were in place, it would have been impossible to disseminate disinformation about ceasefire violations. Notably, it is the Azerbaijani side who resisted the establishment of that mechanism. In this context, we once again underscore the importance for the implementation of the agreements reached in 2016 in Vienna and St. Petersburg on the strengthening of the ceasefire regime, including the creation of investigative mechanisms.
It is also worth mentioning that Baku came up with these ungrounded allegations during the visit of the Co-Chairs to the region. This is an attempt to undermine the negotiation process including the meeting outlined by the Co-Chairs.
Thus Baku attempts to shift the blame for its counterproductive stance on the other negotiating parties – Armenia and Artsakh.
This demonstrates the extent to which Baku is ready to respond to the mediation efforts and to continue and advance the negotiations.
Armenia has been engaged in good faith in the peace process and will continue to undertake efforts for creating conducive environment through the implementation of the agreements reached.
Question. Along with the accusations addressed to Armenia, the MFA of Azerbaijan made number of comments including on the Armenians allegedly living in Azerbaijan, on Azerbaijan being a country of tolerance, and Armenia facing domestic political issues.
Anna Naghdalyan. Ironically, this claim is made by a representative of a country where not only Armenians but their names are banned on the jerseys of football fans.
Nowadays intolerance in Azerbaijan results from the impunity of the anti-Armenian pogroms committed in Sumgait, Baku and other cities, of the policy of hatred, which culminated in the glorification of Safarov, and 2016 April aggression of Azerbaijan against Artsakh accompanied by despicable atrocities.
Regarding the “domestic political issues” of Armenia, we will refrain from wasting our time explaining the elementary norms of functioning of democratic societies.