16:13, 2 October, 2013

STRASBOURG, OCTOBER 2, ARMENPRESS. All the three main principles of
the Helsinki final act must function jointly. Armenia is willing to
reach agreement based on them. But in case of resuming the military
activities, Azerbaijan will start talking about the loss of major
territories. The President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan
stated this at the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly
of the Council of Europe. "The OSCE Minsk Group is engaged in the
settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and the negotiations
are ongoing. Notwithstanding Azerbaijan has shown for a number of
times that they do not accept the two principles put forward by
the Co-Chairs, and among them is the right of self determination of
the nations."

Among other things the President underscored: "Peaceful resolution
of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue under the aegis of the OSCE Minsk
Group Co-Chairmanship has been and will remain our priority until we
achieve a comprehensive settlement. We value the efforts of all those
who support regional stability, but we also know that we must rely
primarily on our own power to deter the opponent against possible
negative developments and to maintain peace, especially as the
leader of our neighboring state continues to make public statements
threatening with war, declaring the Armenians his "enemy number one",
boasting about disproportionate increases in military spending,
and the buildup of arms.

Nonetheless, I hope that the people of Azerbaijan or their significant
part actually do not share this mindset. Unfortunately, those in
Azerbaijan who are trying to bring up candid memories of the past,
which was once shared with the Armenian people, are being publicly
admonished, threatened "to have their ears cut," and expelled from
the country. Hence, the actual mood of the people of Azerbaijan is
not articulated and whatever is voiced is demanded by the propaganda
machine. It results in the ineffectiveness of any attempt to implement
confidence-building measures.

I am confident that our peoples will have a better future than the
one contemplated by some leaders who preach hatred and war. As I have
already stated publicly on other occasions, I do not consider the
people of Azerbaijan to be the enemy of the Armenian people. We are
capable of respectfully resolving our disagreements and peacefully
co-existing as neighbors.

Two days ago, my people mourned demise of Sos Sargsyan, a brilliant
actor, the People's Artist of the Republic of Armenia. The master's
last public statement was his open letter to the intellectuals of
Azerbaijan, which was nothing but an appeal for peace, justice, and
reason: 'Are you really going to unleash a war? My dear neighbors! It
will bring nothing except innocent victims. Why? It is very simple:
Karabakh is a territory for you, but a Sacred Fatherland for us,"
wrote the great intellectual. Indeed, we regularly appeal for sobriety
and firmly claim that zealous incitement of xenophobia, unyielding
threats to use force and the arms race will not do any good. Peace and
cooperation are the only feasible means of building a prosperous future
for the peoples of the region. It is an axiom that requires no proof.

The international experience proves that democratic societies are
best placed to resolve conflicts peacefully. In the last two decades,
democratic institutions have been built and continuously developed in
Nagorno Karabakh. According to respectable international organizations
such as the Freedom House, the level of democracy in Nagorno Karabakh
is noticeably higher than in some of its neighbors.

Karabakh has been and will remain a part of Europe. Its people are a
part of the European family, regardless of Karabakh's political status.

Therefore, I believe that the Council of Europe could, regardless of
Karabakh's status, initiate direct contacts with Karabakh within the
framework of its pertinent functions, especially since the Council
of Europe has similar experiences with respect to other conflict zones.

From: A. Papazian