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24.9.14

Yerevan Considering Recall of Turkey-Armenian Protocols, Says Serzh Sarkisian at the UN

Speaking at the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2014, President Serzh Sarkisian hinted that official Yerevan is considering the recall of the Turkey-Armenia Protocols since Turkey continues to insist on the resolution of the Karabagh conflict in favor of Azerbaijan as a precondition for ratifying the documents.
“Armenia has never conditioned the normalization of the bilateral relations with Turkey by recognition of the Armenian Genocide. In fact, Armenia was the party that initiated such a process which culminated in the signing of the Zurich Protocols in 2009. However, those Protocols have been shelved for years now awaiting ratification in the Turkish Parliament. Ankara declares publicly that it will ratify those Protocols only if Armenians cede Nagorno-Karabakh—Independent Artsakh–to Azerbaijan. In Armenia and Artsakh ordinary people often just retort to such preconditions: ‘To hell with your ratification,’” said Sarkisian. “This vernacular phrase concentrates the age-old struggle of the entire nation, and it unequivocally explains to those who attempt to bargain the others’ homeland that the motherland is sacrosanct, and they had better stay away from us with their bargain. It is in these circumstances that currently official Yerevan is seriously considering the issue of recalling the Armenian-Turkish Protocols from the parliament.”
In his remarks, Sarkisian also addressed the international crisis posed by ISIS, and remarked that on Armenia’s Independence Day, ISIS forces destroyed the St. Mary’s Armenian Church in Der Zor, which served as a memorial to the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian genocide:
“The tragic events in Syria and Iraq, which we are currently witnessing, demonstrate how the groups whose creed is hatred are targeting religious and national minorities. Two days ago, on Independence Day of the Republic of Armenia, the Church of All Saint Martyrs in Deir-ez-Zor, Syria, dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide, where their remains were housed, was mined and blown up by terrorists. Such a barbarity is a criminal Godlessness in no way or shape related to any faith. The catastrophic situation in Syria and the north of Iraq continuously deteriorates, and today hundreds of thousands of peaceful people are directly imperiled. Among them are tens of thousands of Armenians of Aleppo. This is an instance of a peril to consider in the context of our joint commitments to preventing the crimes against humanity. Armenia has voiced on numerous occasions the necessity to defend the Armenian population of Syria and the Yezidi population of north-western Iraq, and we are encouraged by the unified stance of the international community in this regard.”
He also chastised the international community for allowing Azerbaijan to advance its anti-Armenian and war rhetoric:
“It has been more than twenty years our neighbor aborts the efforts of the international community directed at the just and peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by its unconstructive and maximalist stance. The failure of an adequate international characterization of the bellicose declarations and various threats put forth at the highest level in Azerbaijan has resulted in all-out permissiveness. The President of Azerbaijan designates the entire Armenian nation as the “the enemy number one,” and what is considered in the rest of the world to be a crime, is considered to be a glorious deed in Azerbaijan.
Despite the fact that each conflict is unique, fundamental human rights and freedoms, including the right of peoples to free expression of will and self-determination, continue to evolve as a determinant to their resolution. The vote held a few days ago in Scotland, once again proved that nowadays the institute of referendum is more and more widely perceived as a legal model for peaceful settlement of ethnic conflicts. It was no coincidence that the right to govern one’s own fate through referendum is in the core of the proposal put forward by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
(...) Azerbaijani authorities have failed to implement the fundamental demands of the Security Council resolutions, including abiding and sticking by humanitarian norms. Incidentally, Azerbaijan has been gravely violating this demand every now and then. Azerbaijan’s cruel and inhumane treatment of the Armenian civilian prisoners of war regularly resulted in their deaths. Although, I think, one shall not be surprised about it because it is the same state that suppresses and exercises the most inhumane treatment of its own people. A clear proof of it was the decision of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture to suspend its visit to Azerbaijan due to the obstructions it encountered in the conduct of the official Baku.
The Co-Chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group is the only specialized structure that has been dealing with the Nagorno-Karabakh issue according to the mandate granted by the international community. While Azerbaijan is very well aware that it could not possibly deceive or misinform the Minsk Group, which is very-well immersed in the essence of the problem, it attempts to transpose the conflict settlement to other platforms trying to depict it as a territorial dispute or exploiting the factor of religious solidarity. That is ironic, since Armenia traditionally enjoys very warm relations with the Islamic states both in the Arab world or, for instance, with our immediate neighbor Iran.”

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