I would like to exercise my right of reply to the statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia at the general debate on 28 September (see A/68/PV.19). As can be noted from the statement, Armenia is denying the facts that point to its policy of aggression, hostility, hatred, outright lies and falsification.
According to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia, his Government welcomed the joint statement on the conflict settlement made on 18 June 2013 by the Presidents of the three co-Chair countries of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. However, merely welcoming declarative statements is not sufficient for achieving progress in the conflict-settlement process, especially when the commitments and deeds of Armenia have always been at odds with that goal.
Thus, for example, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia tried to assure the United Nations community of his Government's adherence to the principles of international law, in particular those reflected in the aforementioned joint statement of 18 June 2013. In reality, Armenia has grossly violated those and other principles of international law by seizing and continuing to occupy and control Nagorno-Karabakh and other areas of Azerbaijan.
There can be no doubt that, in contrast to Armenia's interpretation of international legal norms and principles, their primary objective in the context of the ongoing conflict settlement process must first and foremost to ensure that the occupied Azerbaijan territories are liberated, that forcibly displaced people return to their homes, and that Armenia and Azerbaijan establish relations on the basis of respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Armenia rejects that understanding, thus preventing the achievement of the negotiated settlement of the conflict and continuing to violate international law.
In the words of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia, "Azerbaijan keeps misinterpreting the 1993 Security Council resolutions". Such a deduction is obviously not only unproven, but is also easily refuted by numerous facts and documents testifying to Armenia's non-compliance with the requirements of the Security Council resolutions and to its determined efforts to undermine the process of settling the conflict on the basis of international law.
The head of Armenian diplomacy gets so carried away that he accused Azerbaijan of committing aggression. Such an irresponsible allegation is nothing other than utter falsehood. Otherwise, he would have noticed that the Security Council has not only not mentioned "aggression" on the part of Azerbaijan in any of its relevant four resolutions or presidential statements, but rather that it has condemned the use of force against it and the occupation of its territory.
The arguments of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia are also in apparent contradiction with the statements made by the most senior leaders of his own country, however surprising that may seem. Thus, it has been publicly acknowledged at the highest level in Armenia that the war was started by the Armenian side and that the aim of the war was to implement the long-nurtured plan of seizing Azerbaijani territory. Yerevan has also admitted that, during the active military phase of the conflict, it was the Armenian side that intentionally ignored the demands of the Security Council for the immediate cessation of all military activities and hostile acts.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia further noted that, after the ceasefire agreement signed in 1994, the mediator countries, which are three permanent members of the Security Council, allegedly have never made any reference to its 1993 resolutions. To prove the absurdity of this view and the conclusions based on it, it is sufficient to recall the presidential statement of 26 April 1995 (S/PRST/1995/21), in which the Council reaffirmed all its previous statements and resolutions. The resolutions of the Security Council have also been recalled by the mediator countries and other States and international organizations on a number of other occasions.
By claiming that Azerbaijan is allegedly rejecting the implementation of confidence-building measures, the Armenian side falls into its usual forgetfulness. Otherwise, the officials of that country would recall that Armenia deliberately denies the right of almost 1 million Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their homes and undertakes efforts to alter the demographic situation in the occupied territories and remove any signs of their Azerbaijani cultural and historical roots.
Armenia’s speculations on confidence-building are also curious insofar as it persistently opposes direct contacts between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh. Likewise, the undisguised promotion by the leadership of Armenia of the odious ideas of ethnic and religious incompatibility with and hatred of Azerbaijan and other neighbouring nations can hardly contribute to building confidence.
Furthermore, regular ceasefire violations and deliberate attacks by the armed forces of Armenia against Azerbaijani civilians and civilian objects have become more frequent and violent in recent times, resulting in the killing and wounding of many inhabitants residing near the front line.
Besides, in apparent disregard of its obligations under international law and of its respective commitments under the existing arms control regime, Armenia continues to build-up its military presence in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Moreover, comparative analysis show that, in relation to its population, territory, annual budget and gross domestic product, Armenia is the most militarized country in the South Caucasus.
Instead of lecturing other countries about what is good and what is bad, it would be useful if the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia would recall the direct involvement of the current political and military leadership of his country in brutal massacres during the conflict, which claimed the lives of thousands of Azerbaijani civilians, including children, women and the elderly. Evidence of a special relationship in Armenia with terrorists and war criminals can also be seen in their glorification at the State level, including by raising them to the status of national heroes and bestowing State decorations on them.
Speculations on the fictitious "anti-Armenian hate-speeches" in Azerbaijan are also beneath all criticism. Suffice it to mention that, unlike Armenia, which has implemented a policy of total ethnic cleansing of both its own territory and the occupied territories of Azerbaijan of all non-Armenians and thus succeeded in creating a uniquely mono-ethnic culture in those areas, Azerbaijan has preserved its ethnic and cultural diversity to the present day.
The conclusion is self-evident. In reality, by disregarding the resolutions of the Security Council, by challenging the peace efforts led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, by continuing to illegally occupy the territories of Azerbaijan, by deliberately denying the right of 1 million Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their homes, and by misinterpreting the norms and principles of international law, Armenia clearly demonstrates who is actually endangering regional and international peace and security.