Noting the progress made by Armenia in the past 25 years, including strengthening its democratic institutions, good governance, protection of human rights and advancing economic reforms, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs highlighted that the needs of the country’s most vulnerable groups form the core of its development strategy 2014-2025.
In his address, Minister Edward Nalbandian further underscored that the United Nations has a considerable role to play given the continued threat of intolerance, racial discrimination, xenophobia, violent extremism and terrorism.
“On numerous occasions Armenia has condemned the crimes committed by Da’esh [also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL] and other terrorist groups, which threaten the peoples of the region and beyond,” said Mr. Nalbandian.
“The war in Syria has [had] a devastating impact on its civilian population, including national and religious minorities who face existential threats due to identity based crimes,” he added, noting that due to the conflict their country, more than 20,000 people from Syria have sought refuge in Armenia.
Mentioning the efforts undertaken by his country in assisting the refugees and their integration, the Minister called for wider international cooperation to address the challenges posed by massive displacement and underlined the need of complete implementation of the New York Declaration, adopted at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on Monday.
He also reaffirmed the country’s strong support to the fight against the impunity for genocide and recalled that it “experienced the first genocide of the 20th century and continues to face the denial of this horror.”
Further, mentioning that many major global documents proclaim that all peoples have the right of self-determination, he said that Azerbaijan “stubbornly” refuses to recognize this right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and added that in April this year, Azerbaijan “unleashed another large scale aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh, indiscriminately targeting civilian infrastructures and population.”
The Minister further noted that the April aggression severely undermined the peace process and called for measures to be taken to prevent the use of force and for creating conditions conducive to advance the peace process, and added that Armenia, together with the mediator countries –Russia, the United States and France – the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, will continue its efforts towards peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh situation.
Expressing concern over unilateral economic measures as an instrument of political pressure and noting that such measures are detrimental to sustainable development, he said: “The unilateral land blockade of Armenia by Turkey is a gross violation of international law. It continues to severely hamper regional transit communication routes, economic cooperation and integration.”
Concluding his statement, the Minister expressed that Armenia welcomed the central role of the UN in the implementation of the new and comprehensive development agenda:
“We do not underestimate the challenges facing all of us – equally we should not downplay the opportunities,” he noted and added: “we must show the same insight and vision to safeguard the future of this organization and ensure the best possible future for the peoples of the UN. Armenia is fully committed to these goals.”