On June 14 the 9th sitting of the Inter-Parliamentary Committee on Cooperation between the RA National Assembly and the NKR National Assembly was held in Stepanakert.
Before beginning the sitting the parliamentarians of Armenia and Artsakh laid a wreath and flowers at the fraternal cemetery.
The sitting was co-chaired by the Heads of the RA and NKR parliaments.
At the opening of the 9th sitting, the Speaker of the NKR NA Ashot Ghulyan said:
“I am happy to welcome the delegation led by the RA NA Speaker Mr Galust Sahakyan in the NKR National Assembly on the occasion of the next sitting of the Armenia-Artsakh Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Committee. Besides the representatives of the legislative body, the executive power represents the RA Deputy Foreign Minister Mr Shavarsh Kocharyan in the delegation.
Taking into consideration that Mr Galust Sahakyan as Speaker of the RA National Assembly visits the NKR National Assembly for the first time, I am humbled to congratulate Mr Sahakyan directly in parliament on the occasion of being elected in the high and responsible post of the Speaker of the RA National Assembly and convey all our best wishes.
Vladimir Kazimirov, the former Co-Chair of the OSCE Minks Group, has warmly accepted our invitation to take part in the sitting of the Armenia-Artsakh Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Committee.
As you are informed, the agenda of today’s sitting is comprised of one item, that is: “The Ceasefire of May 1994 and Perspectives on Peace.” It has been proposed by the Chairmen of the Standing Committees on Foreign Relations of the two parliaments Artak Zakaryan and Vahram Atanesyan and has been endorsed by the members of the Armenia-Artsakh Inter-Parliamentary Committee.
The May Ceasefire, the 20th anniversary of which was marked recently, certainly is a significant military-political event, touching upon which, in general and in this case particularly, within the framework of the Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Committee of the two Armenian Republics, and arriving at conclusions on further perspectives are a great necessity.
The ceasefire agreement which entered into force on May 12, 1994 prevented the war unleashed by Azerbaijan against Nagorno Karabakh, a war that was threatening to turn into a disaster the whole South Caucasus region.
This war was imposed to the Artsakh people when it was self-determined and launched the autocratic statehood building. That was our neighbours’ answer to the NKR leadership’s readiness for discussing the whole complex of the issues connected with the Nagorno Karabakh problem with the participation of all sides.
In the conditions of the Azerbaijani aggression, naturally, self-defense and the people's security provision became the number one problem for newly independent Nagorno Karabakh. The political leadership took a series of urgent measures for that end. So a Committee of Self-Defense Forces adjunct to the NKR Council of Ministers was created, Self Defense Command was formed, the works on recruitment of volunteer battalions started. As a result, the Azerbaijani military operations were suspended; a number of main weapon emplacements were distroyed. And on May 9, 1992 the city of Shushi was liberated, by which a new phase of the national army building in the NKR was, in fact, launched: transition from self-defense detachments to the regular army of political power.
In this context, stemming from the created hard military-political situation connected with the wide-scale military campaign of the Azerbaijani army in the summer of 1992, Martial Law was declared in the whole NKR territory in August, and a special governing body was established. A Defense State Committee, which was empowered with full functions of executive power and partial authorities of legislative power.
Due to taken those and other operative measures we succeeded not only to organize full defense, but also passing into counterattack, to throw back the sub-divisions of Azerbaijan’s armed forces from the occupied territories, as well as to liberate the territories, which had been then arbitrarily separated from Historic Artsakh, depopulated of the Armenians, and turned into Azerbaijani weapon emplacements in the war process.
Despite the overwhelming defeats of its army, the Azerbaijani leadership, up to spring 1994 was cherishing illusions on reaching abrupt changes at the front.
Certainly, during the whole military actions the mediators who have assumed the Karabakh conflict settlement, made great endeavors to cease the bloodshed. On April 15, 1994 in Moscow a statement of the CIS Council of Heads of States was adopted, by which it was required to stop the military actions. It was followed by the negotiations held in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, under the aegis of the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly.
Honouring especially the mediatory efforts of the Russian Federation in that process, I would like, however, to mention that the declaration of the May Ceasefire happened greatly as a result of bringing Azerbaijan to stand down its military aspirations by the Armed Forces of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.
Unfortunately, the failure in the war unleashed by its own forces did not become a lesson for Azerbaijan. From time to time official Baku experiments its revenge moods with subversive acts and sniper fires on the border. Furthermore, official Baku refuses any proposal by the mediators to establish atmosphere of confidence. Such behaviour, undoubtedly, keeps in danger the stability on the Karabakh-Azerbaijani border.
The Republic of Artsakh has repeatedly announced that it has not tolerated and is not going to tolerate in future any infringement on itself and that today more than ever the Arsakh Army is ready to defend our state borders.
The NKR Authorities expect decisive steps to be taken by the relevant international structures for making Azerbaijan abandon its adventurous and dangerous policy, taking into consideration that this policy is a serious threat for the whole region.
The goal of our today’s discussions is to activate the parliamentary diplomacy efforts on strengthening the ceasefire and the Karabakh conflict settlement, involving in the process the opportunities of friendly relations and contacts with the parliaments of different countries as well.”
The RA NA Speaker Galust Sahakyan made a welcoming speech. Addressing the attendees, he said in particular:
“On behalf of the Armenian delegation let me welcome and congratulate you on the occasion of the convocation of the regular sitting of the Inter-Parliamentary Committee on Cooperation between our parliaments.
I am sure that this sitting of the Inter-Parliamentary Committee will go on effectively, giving us an opportunity to discuss comprehensively the items on the agenda and find ways for their solution. The regular conduct of the Committee sittings, as well as the close cooperation between our parliaments will let us record visible success both in political and economic spheres.
The problem of peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict is always at the centre of attention of the Armenian parliament: numerous debates and hearings have been held on the abovementioned issue.
By the ceasefire agreement concluded two decades ago the military actions unleashed by Azerbaijan was terminated and the victorious people of Artsakh began to build its peaceful and powerful state with new energy.
Presently, the lack of Azerbaijan’s willingness for consensus and its adopted “everything or war” policy does not allow reaching full peace in the region.
Official Baku has made anti-Armenian propaganda a state policy, taking it to a more dangerous level, denying and destroying everything Armenian it persistently continues spreading at all levels and everywhere false accusations on Armenia, Nagonro Karabakh and the Armenians. Azerbaijan resumes denying the continuous recommendations of the international community aimed at reaching agreement on non-use of force and strengthening of the atmosphere of confidence. Moreover, the bellicose rhetoric and war threats voiced today by Azerbaijan have intensified, multiplied and the violations of the ceasefire regime have become more dangerous and continue taking lives of scores of innocent people.
The Nagorno Karabakh Republic should be a full party in the conflict settlement negotiations and any reached agreement should enjoy the approval of the Artsakh people.
The Republic of Armenia highlights the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs in the process of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement as a practical format of the negotiation process, which posesses a serious potential for finding solution outcomes.
Any attempt for the conflict settlement through military actions may have unpredictable consequences not only for the conflicting sides, but also for the region.
The Republic of Armenia is pursuing only peaceful settlement of the problem and spotlights the establishment of atmosphere of confidence for continuing the negotiations in a constructive way. We call on Azerbaijan to refrain from any step, which can create additional tension and obstacles on the way of peaceful process.
In the end, I would like to underline that the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia attaches a great importance to the broadening and deepening the relations with the National Assembly of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and is ready to multiply our legacy unitedly obtained through years.
I would like to thank all the members of the Inter-Parliamentary Committee, as well as the guests for taking part in today’s sitting, wishing all of us new successes in the works of the Committee and express hope that our efforts will be effective and aimed at the development of our multilateral ties.”
Ambassador Vladimir Kazimirov, the former Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, gave a speech. He thoroughly touched upon the provisions of the document on the ceasefire signed in Bishkek in 1994, spotlighted the establishment and intensification of full peace and stability in the region.
In the closed sitting the Chairman of the RA NA Standing Committee on Foreign Relations Artak Zakaryan and the Chairman of the NKR NA Standing Committee on Foreign Relations Vahram Atanesyan presented their reports on “The Ceasefire of May 1994 and Perspectives on Peace.” Artak Zakaryan referred to the current situation in the region and security issues, the Azerbaijani authorities’ bellicose announcements and the methodology of conducting bellicose propaganda. Vahram Atanesyan touched upon the mediatory recommendations aimed at the NK problem settlement during the 20 years after the declaration of the ceasefire.
The RA Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan and the NKR Foreign Minister Karen Mirzoyan detailed for the deputies on the policy of the conflict settlement and main principles of the executive power, also answering the attendees’ questions. Armen Rustamyan, Shirak Torosyan, Nikol Pashinyan, Koryun Nahapetyan, Tevan Poghosyan and others exchanged thoughts.
The two Co-Chairs summed up the works of the Inter-Parliamentary Committee on Cooperation between the RA NA and the NKR NA for the journalists at the joint press conference. The Speaker of the RA National Assembly Galust Sahakyan and the Speaker of the NKR National Assembly Ashot Ghulyan expressed satisfaction for the effective and concerning discussions. They noted that during the sitting a joint draft statement had been discussed, numerous recommendations had been presented and in the upcoming days, taking into consideration the recommendations submitted during the discussions, a joint statement would be adopted.
The parliamentary delegation led by the NA Speaker Galust Sahakyan had been at the line of contact, in the defensive structures, visited the military unit and got acquainted with servicemen’s activities.
In the evening the NKR President Bako Sahakyan will receive the RA NA delegation.