Dear President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly!
Dear Secretary General!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
It is a great honor for me to participate in the 21st Autumn Meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly. I want to thank the organizers for this important initiative of holding the conference in Armenia. I also express my gratitude to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and to all national delegations for their efforts to protect the values the OSCE nurtures and to strengthen security and cooperation in Europe and beyond its boundaries.
The rapidly changing nature of the modern globalized world dynamically transforms regional security systems as well as political, economic and social processes within states. This significantly increases the number of strategic challenges for national governments. Given the complexity of contemporary security issues, affecting all spheres of social life, solutions require unity of effort and participatory discussions. Thus, the regular meetings of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly play an important role in addressing global challenges and the challenges the OSCE member states face today, in particular.
During the last few years, Armenia has passed through dramatic changes that has shaped a new vision about its role in the international arena. The democratization process continuously strengthens Armenian state institutions and makes the Armenian society more resilient in the face of internal and external challenges. At the same time, our young democracy still has to pass the endurance test, as the challenges stemming from various directions are serious and destabilizing. However, we strongly believe that the democracy will endure since the Government of Armenia has a strong political will to deepen democratic governance and people of Armenia showcase strong support for democratic values. This unity of vision between the people and the Government of Armenia provides conditions for democracy to succeed. In this context, international community’s unwavering support to Armenia’s democratization will ensure the success of Armenia’s democracy.
Armenia wants peace in the region, and we are firmly committed to the peace agenda and interested in the possibility of a peace agreement with Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, on September 19th, Azerbaijan launched an attack on Nagorno-Karabakh, where in the presence of Russian peace keepers, the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Armenian population happened with more than 100000 ethnic Armenians being forced to flee their homes and cross into Armenia.
Notwithstanding all the difficulties we face today, Armenia stands ready to work with international partners to bring peace and prosperity to the region. In this context, the delimitation of borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan plays a significant role in creating regional stability. Armenia has publicly and transparently stated that the Alma-Ata declaration is the fundamental document based on which Armenia and Azerbaijan must recognize each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. In fact, on October 6, 2022, in Prague, Prime Minister Pashinyan and President Aliyev confirmed their commitment to Alma-Ata declaration in a meeting facilitated by the President of the French Republic, Mr. Macron, and President of the European Council, Mr. Michel. It is also notable, that during the Brussels negotiation processes, an agreement was reached for the leaders to publicly recognize the exact size of the territory of the neighboring country to signal their commitment to the peace process. On May 14, 2023, following a trilateral meeting in Brussels, President Michel stated that "the leaders confirmed their unequivocal commitment to the 1991 Almaty Declaration and the respective territorial integrity of Armenia (29,800 km2) and Azerbaijan (86,600 km2)”. President Michel reiterated the same on July 15, 2023. Additionally, on October 5, 2023, a quadrilateral meeting of Prime Minister Pashinyan, European Council’s President Michel, French President Macron, German Chancellor Scholtz in Granada resulted in a statement reconfirming the above-mentioned position.
The next important step towards the peace process is future arrangements for unblocking of the regional transportation and economic links. Armenia, indeed, is interested in promoting inclusive regional and cross-border connectivity in the South Caucasus. In achieving the objective of unblocking the communication lines, Armenia emphasizes the importance of respecting the following four principles: sovereignty, jurisdiction, reciprocity, and equality. We believe that an interconnected and economically prosperous region would be imperative for a sustainable peace. It is with this understanding that Armenia has presented the “Crossroads of Peace” project. This initiative aims at development of communications between Armenia and the neighboring countries. “Crossroads of Peace” has a great potential in efficiently linking the Gulfs, the Black Sea, and the Caspian Sea. It will bring huge economic, social, and political benefits to all counties of the wider region.
Ultimately, Armenia has made it clear to its international partners that it is pursuing diversification of foreign and security policies. In this context, Armenia values the partnerships with Western and Asian countries. I would also like to stress that a large-scale process of reforming the armed forces is underway, which includes structural and substantive changes. Again, we perceive democratization of the Armenian Armed forces, as well as our cooperation with international partners in the security domain, as a backbone of protecting Armenia’s sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and democracy.
In this context, I would like to take the opportunity and extend my appreciation to the “National Platform for Democratic Oversight of the Security Sector” established with the special support of the OSCE under the Defense and Security Committee of the National Assembly of Armenia. We are looking for support from OSCE within the Platform, especially in the processes of developing an anti-corruption strategy for the RA Armed Forces, revising the “Proper Governance and Strengthening Good Conduct in the Defense and Security Sectors” teaching program, and the “Human Rights in the Armed Forces” subject taught in military training institutions. I would like to stress that the Office of the Security Council of Armenia is the part of the Platform and will continue to support this important initiative.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that security is multilayered concept and it addresses political, military, economic, environmental, and human realms. Throughout its existence, the OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly has been adamant in identifying and addressing humanitarian and human rights-related threats through its annual declarations. Armenia stands with the OSCE in its hard work that addresses issues ranging from the fight against terrorism to climate change, women’s empowerment and supporting programs that target the youth for a better future. We also appreciate the OSCE’s continued support for strengthening democratic governance in Armenia!
Thank you and let me wish you success at the 21st Autumn Meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Yerevan!