Ambassador Mher Margaryan, Permanent Representative of Armenia to the United Nations made a statement at the UN Security Council Open Debate, entitled "Peace through dialogue: the contribution of regional, subregional and bilateral arrangements to the prevention and peaceful resolution of disputes".
I thank the Brazilian Presidency for convening this meeting and express appreciation to the distinguished briefers for their contribution to today’s debate.
The regional arrangements could play an essential role in the maintenance of international peace and security, as prescribed by Chapter VI and Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, by acting in support of peaceful resolution of disputes and addressing and preventing conflict situations. Often, such arrangements have a better understanding of the historical contexts, root causes and complexities of the conflicts within their respective regions, whereby their access and proximity can offer more immediate and customized tools for dialogue and mediation.
It was precisely in line with this principle that, back in 1992, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (later on, the OSCE) formed a specific initiative aimed at resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, with the endorsement of the UN Security Council. Co-chaired by France, Russian Federation and the United States, the OSCE Minsk Group was established with an international mandate for conducting mediation and negotiations, as a regional arrangement prescribed by the UN Charter.
Since its inception, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship has been essential in mobilizing diplomacy, skills and expertise for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. This internationally mandated arrangement came under a major attack, when Azerbaijan chose to launch a destructive war amidst a global pandemic in September 2020, in grave violation of the existing ceasefire agreements of 1994 and 1995 and the UN Charter. Despite Azerbaijan’s efforts to offer justifications for the military aggression it unleashed, it was in reality the product of an intentional decision to walk away from the negotiations under the OCSE Minsk Group co-chairmanship, opting instead for unprovoked, large-scale violence, with multiple verified reports of atrocities, including against the civilians.
In his policy brief on the “New Agenda for Peace” the Secretary-General stresses that “some States have embraced the uncertainties of the moment as an opportunity to reassert their influence, or to address long-standing disputes through coercive means”. That is indeed what happened in our region. We have been consistently alerting the UN and this very Council that, emboldened by the results of the use of force in the past, Azerbaijan has been seeking to normalize violence and aggression in order to impose unilateral solutions and to finalize its policy of ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh. In December 2022, Azerbaijan deliberately disrupted the movement of people, goods and vehicles along the Lachin corridor, effectively imposing conditions of a medieval siege on the entire ethnic Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh with the use of starvation as a method of warfare.
In a manifest violation of its obligations under the legally binding orders of the International Court of Justice, including the provisional measure to ensure unimpeded movement along the Lachin corridor, as well as the preeminent obligation not to aggravate the dispute, Azerbaijan carried out a pre-mediated ethnic cleansing, which involved the imposition of a 10-month-long blockade targeting a population of 120,000 people, with the subsequent use of large-scale military force, which took lives of innocent civilians, including children, and which eventually drove the entire population of Nagorno-Karabakh into mass displacement. Notably, it was only after the area became completely depopulated that Azerbaijan allowed the UN to conduct its first visit to Nagorno-Karabakh - obviously, with the sole purpose to manipulate the work of the UN mission in an effort to whitewash the massive violations of the rights of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh, who have been starved, bombed and forcibly displaced.
The major representative bodies of Europe, the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have all adopted resolutions strongly condemning the recent military aggression by Azerbaijan against Nagorno-Karabakh, while referring to the use of the coercive practices to remove a civilian population from their territory as amounting to crime against humanity.
In the face of a situation, where regional and bilateral security arrangements have regrettably failed to prevent military aggression and to protect the lives of the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh from devastation, the United Nations and Security Council have a particular responsibility to live up to their mandate to uphold justice and accountability and to establish an effective international framework for the safe and dignified return of the displaced population, in line with the norms and principles of the international law.
I thank you."