Azerbaijan, Turkey must commit to peace and good faith, says Armenia’s permanent representative to the UN Mher Margaryan

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An image grab taken from a video made available on the official web site of the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry on September 28, 2020, allegedly shows Azeri artillery strike towards the positions of Armenian separatists in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. (AFP/Azerbaijani Defence Ministry)

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NEW YORK CITY: As the death toll continues to climb in the latest violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the decades-old rivalry have intensified.

Russia, France, and the US — co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group created in 1992 to encourage a negotiated resolution to the conflict — have called for an immediate cease-fire and a return to negotiations without delay.

Russia has offered to host talks between the foreign ministers of the warring countries, insisting there is no alternative to “political and diplomatic methods” for resolving the crisis.

The UN Security Council has issued a similar call to urgently resume talks without preconditions, backing an earlier appeal by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to de-escalate the conflict and return to meaningful negotiations.

“Armenia never refused to sit for peaceful negotiations,” said Mher Margaryan, Armenia’s permanent representative to the UN, in an interview with Arab News. “But it doesn’t seem to be the intention of Azerbaijan to follow the calls for peace.”

At the onset of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Guterres made an appeal for a global cease-fire to help stem the spread of the virus.

“Azerbaijan not only refused to unconditionally support the secretary-general’s appeal, but also resorted to a large-scale military intervention,” added Margaryan.

“The (Azerbaijani) offensive comes amid a global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, when the international community is focused on fighting the disease.

“Azerbaijan has decided to take advantage of these global vulnerabilities caused by the pandemic. So, this is not just an attack against Armenians but (also) an attack against the basic norms of humanity, an attack against what the UN stands for.”

French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said he and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin “also shared their concern regarding the sending of Syrian mercenaries by Turkey to Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Margaryan said Armenia was very concerned by the alleged involvement of foreign fighters. “These foreign mercenaries are actually being recruited and transported with the support and encouragement of Turkey. We have to name the names: (The Turks) have been a very destructive element in this conflict. They need to be encouraged to stop.”

The envoy said Azerbaijan’s actions, “while they took the world by surprise,” had been preceded by ”years of dangerous rhetoric, hate speech and Armeniaphobia, embraced and promulgated at the highest political level.”

“The leadership of Azerbaijan has been promoting hate crimes and glorifying hate criminals. At the same time, they have been spending billions of dollars to acquire deadly offensive weaponry and openly threatening the people of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh with promises to use force.”

 

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