Remarks by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan at the UNSC "New Orientation for Reformed Multilateralism" Ministerial Meeting
It is a great pleasure to take part in today’s discussions at the UN Security Council, and I thank my dear colleague, External Affairs Minister of India, for the invitation.
The Indian Presidency has chosen a very timely and important topic for this open debate.
International relations, as we’ve known them, appear to be in transition.
Global security crisis that we all are living in, heavily affected the functioning of the system of multilateralism. Of course, there can be an opinion to the contrary that malfunctioning of the multilateral system resulted in the situation we are facing today. It’s like the story of the chicken and the egg; thus, I do believe, it is more convenient to concentrate on the question of how multilateralism should be reformed based on the lessons that ought to be learnt.
If I’d try to define multilateralism in very simplistic terms, I’d call it the “ability to reach and follow the commitments based on compromise and mutual agreement”. To find a common ground, we must adhere to the universal red lines on which both-sided approach cannot be tolerated. And these red lines are reflected first of all in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Charter. This important open debate will hopefully serve as food for thought in our shared struggle to maintain and improve the multilateral system for the sake of future generations.
Armenia is firmly committed to multilateralism anchored in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, including non-use of force or threat of force and peaceful resolution of disputes.
In a world, where conflicts regrettably continue to persist, prohibition of the use of force and strict adherence to peaceful settlement of conflicts are indispensable to the maintenance of international peace and security.
The United Nations must remain resilient to the detrimental practices of imposing unilateral solutions and prioritizing violence over peaceful settlement. Attempts to normalize the use of force in interstate relations, to unleash wars and commit atrocities are incompatible with the core values and objectives of the United Nations and must be unequivocally condemned and rejected at all times.
Strengthening the capacities of the UN and those of the Security Council to prevent and respond to such disturbing challenges is crucial for delivering on the objective of upholding international peace and security.
Armenia supports efforts, including efforts of India, to reform the institutions of multilateralism and to make the Security Council more inclusive and effective in responding to the current and emerging challenges and threats to the international peace and security.
Armenia has witnessed first-hand the effects of the decline of multilateralism. International community proved unable to prevent the unjustified use of force of Azerbaijan against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, which resulted in thousands of dead, wounded and a new wave of displacement.
The issue of rights and security of the people of Nagorno-Kharabakh is still to be addressed. The people of Nagorno-Karabakh should be able to live in dignity and peace in their own homeland.
The decline of multilateralism has manifested also in the inability of the Security Council-mandated OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship to fulfill its duties. One of the parties to the conflict essentially blocks the activities of this format, moreover, unilaterally declares that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been resolved by use of force, thus hampering the potential solution of the conflict through international mediation.
In the face of limited interest of the international community, the security challenges in our region only grew. Armenian sovereign territories have been continuously under attack. The last major incident was in September this year, and we requested an emergency meeting of the Security Council to assess the situation in full and to remain seized on the matter.
The security situation, I regret to say, has not really seen any significant improvements. Despite the calls of the international community, Azerbaijan continues to keep sovereign territories of Armenia under occupation. We continue to face the growing military rhetoric of Azerbaijan that openly threatens our sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Two years since the cessation of the military hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, the issue of return and repatriation of the Armenian Prisoners of War remains unresolved. The Azerbaijani side continues its manipulations in order to artificially counterbalance the humanitarian issues and to turn the return of the Armenian PoWs into a bargaining chip, which is totally unacceptable and should not be tolerated by the international community.
Moreover, the international humanitarian bodies, including those of the United Nations, are still unable to provide much needed aid to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, essentially leaving them behind, in stark contrast to the global pledge of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Ironically, not only international humanitarian organizations, but even people living in Nagorno Karabakh are denied access. It is already the third day that Azerbaijan, grossly violating its international obligations, has blocked the movement through the Lachin Corridor - the only lifeline of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is now essentially cut off from Armenia and the outside world. As we speak, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh have been deprived of the right to free movement: mothers are separated from their children, terminally ill people can’t get medical supplies and help. Even worse, in freezing winter conditions, the gas supply to Nagorno-Karabakh has been severed by Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh, dear colleagues, is facing the imminent threat of food, energy and overall humanitarian crisis which if not addressed urgently will lead into a catastrophe.
In such conditions, the leadership of Azerbaijan claims that they are ready to provide rights and security guarantees for Armenians and that no international mechanism or presence is required. What we have at hand is illustrative of how they imagine these guarantees.
Along with Azerbaijan’s refusal to hold dialogue with Stepanakert on their rights and security this position testifies to the fact that Baku continues pursuing a genocidal policy towards the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.
At the beginning of my speech, I highlighted the importance of fulfilling commitments. Both in case of Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process and the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh Azerbaijan refuses to realize its own commitments, that were reached also in multilateral formats. The actions, warmongering rhetoric and maximalist approach of the leadership of Azerbaijan put the chance of reaching peace and stability in the South Caucasus under a serious risk.
Based on our own experience, we can argue that without effective multilateralism the world will be devoid of peace and security. Hence, we must all strive to devise better, more efficient modus operandi in order to be able to prevent conflicts, genocides and other mass atrocities and focus on peaceful, sustainable development.
I thank you.