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Serzh Sargsyan: I will publish all documents on Artsakh If there is an extreme necessity

2-02-2022, 08:56 Politic, Top News
Serzh Sargsyan: I will publish all documents on Artsakh If there is an extreme necessity

2 February 2022, 08:56 - NovostiNK
Armenia’s third President Serzh Sargsyan sat down for an exclusive interview with ArmNews TV channel on Monday, talking about the negotiation process for the conflict resolution in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). Below is a part of the interview.

Interviewer: We know about the principles and elements, Mr President. But the Prime Minister says that the interpretations of those were very different. Meaning – Yerevan says something, and Baku says something else. Maybe that was the reason, why he officially and on the highest level had expressed doubts in the applicability of the Madrid Principles at all? Maybe it was worth to do that and demonstrate that Yerevan could not negotiate on the basis of certain principles which Baku had been interpreting in a diametrically opposite way?

Serzh Sargsyan: But was there anyone who believed that the opinions of Armenian and Azerbaijani sides should coincide? I mean – did he think that way? This address is an example that testifies to the fact that at least till that address this man did not grasp, he did not understand what was happening. You should go to negotiations, if I can put it that way, not to demand explanations from either negotiating parties or mediators, but you go to negotiations in order to implement your vision. You have to express clearly what you want from those negotiations. You should not go and tell them what is it that you propose? What they proposed was very clear. They were saying that the issue has to be resolved on the basis of mutual compromises, that the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast should get a status, i.e. cannot be part of Azerbaijan. But let me paraphrase this better. I did not mean to say “cannot be”, it was not the [mediators] wording, but it was presumed that when a referendum is held, it was obvious that the outcome of it would be clear. They said that the conflict cannot be resolved by force. They said that peacekeepers would be dispatched before we matured, before the referendum was held. Everything was very clear. What other explanations were needed? Where an extra explanation was owed? I did not go to Kazan to demand explanations from Aliyev, did I? Did I go to Kazan to ask the co-chairs what was it that they proposed? How could such an attitude be expressed? Just how? I really fail to understand…

Interviewer: Well, he wanted more clarity, Mr. President.

Serzh Sargsyan: In addition, he was also showing poor attitude against the co-chairs, as if saying – what a poor proposal you came up with? If something is not in our interests, come up with something new.

Interviewer: Well, something new was tabled in 2019.

Serzh Sargsyan: The whole problem is that, indeed, no document was approved in Kazan. A declaration should have been adopted there, i.e. declared without signing, since the main document was going to be the bilateral, interstate agreement, which was the comprehensive treaty about the peaceful resolution of Nagorno Karabakh issue, which would include everything relevant.

Interviewer: So, was it going to be a peace treaty?

Serzh Sargsyan: That was the treaty about the peaceful resolution of Artsakh issue.

Interviewer: Concluded between two parties?

Serzh Sargsyan: Exactly. Moreover, with the participation of the representative of Nagorno Karabakh. It was very clearly written.

Interviewer: When would the participation of Karabakh representative be resumed?

Serzh Sargsyan: Exactly when we started the negotiations about the agreement.

Interviewer: That means the representative of Artsakh would partake in that?

Serzh Sargsyan: Definitely had to participate.

Interviewer: This is a very important episode.

Serzh Sargsyan: This aspect was included in all of the documents, including the one this man regards as ‘a catastrophe’. Those documents, of course, I am hesitating to make public. Neither I have ever promised to publish. But indeed, in some off-the-record conversations I have said that I was speaking, was negotiating with the co-chairs to request their permission to somewhat publish those pieces.

Interviewer: He has made it public, Mr. President. In January 2020 in Kapan he published that document.

Serzh Sargsyan: No, he publicized another document, but did not ‘publish’ in Kapan as such. They leaked it to one of the websites, which published the text and then he read it out loud in Kapan. That document, or better to call it ‘a proposal’, was presented to the parties not in 2016, but in 2018 – if I recall it right -- either in January or February. I mean, if this person speaks about some catastrophe, if at all, there was a new proposal.

Interviewer: You probably mean the meeting between Foreign Ministers in Krakow in 2018.

Serzh Sargsyan: Yes, exactly that one. For which [that leak], of course, these people were reproached, since the maintenance of confidentiality was a must and that was upon the negotiating parties.

That’s the reason, why this man publicly says “if there are any documents, let them publish”. I do not want the co-chairmen to change their opinion and snub us too for any leaks.

Interviewer: Well, you are no more the negotiator, Mr. President. Maybe this time you decide to act on that temptation?

Serzh Sargsyan: I am no more, but I have been a negotiator, right? I have been a partner for those people. I would say – a trusted partner. Is it worth to do that now?

Indeed, I have all the papers, all the proposals by the co-chairs in my disposal. But without coordination – I do not think that it is a good idea. If there is an extreme necessity, I will do that. But since he has that experience already, I would suggest him to go on and publish.

Interviewer: You don’t want to act on that temptation?

Serzh Sargsyan: Especially given that I am not the one voicing accusations. He is the one making accusations, right? He owes to show proofs, not me.

Interviewer: If need be, there must be a showdown, and manipulations will be prevented.

Serzh Sargsyan: First and foremost, the manipulations will not be prevented. Making manipulations is the workstyle of these people. They won’t be prevented. Secondly, of course that will give a chance to many-many people to read and make up their own mind around it. But the Minsk Group has not vanished, you know? Independent of the fact that this person is the one negotiating now. Tomorrow there will be a different negotiator. That is not a second rate structure. Let me remind everyone that we deal with Russia, United States and France. If we lose their trust fully, what will be our gain? If our people have doubts, let them follow the statements made by the co-chairs. A few times these people attempted to misinterpret the proposals made by the co-chairs. They reacted swiftly. Reacted several times. Isn’t that enough for the doubtful people to realize where is the truth, and what is just an attempt to justify own failures of these people?

Interviewer: Mr. President, only to conclude on this issue about the UN Security Council, I have to re-direct this question and ask you to clarify the following in order to close on this one subject.

One of the main claims made by the Prime Minister is that one of our biggest negotiation failures has been to agree in 2016 that the UN Security Council will be given the de facto mandate to deal with this issue. In other words – that finding a comprehensive resolution was delegated to this body. You are now assuring us that it was fully in the best interests of Armenia to consider the adoption of a resolution by the UN Security Council as one of three parallel formats for settlement.

Serzh Sargsyan: I want this to be very clear. First and foremost, there could not be any document that would fully be only in the interests of Armenia. It would be in Armenia’s interest if the territories in the entire security zone, and maybe even more, were reunited with Armenia. Am I right? These [issues] cannot be formulated in that manner.

Interviewer: Yes, of course. But neither it was good for Azerbaijan.

Serzh Sargsyan: For Azerbaijan – totally not. The formulation is the following: if those proposals were accepted by the parties and there was also a resolution adopted by the UN Security Council, preceded by, as I said, the adoption of interstate declaration and joint statement by the co-chairs – all of that would have given us an opportunity to resolve the issue by peaceful means and without crossing any of the red lines that we had always had.

Interviewer: This means all the steps, from the beginning to the end, would be resolved by a package deal?

Serzh Sargsyan: Yes, that is correct. I also want to add something. I want to be very clear and say that despite the fact the declaration it was not signed or adopted in Kazan, it had been the last document, titled as a working document. I said in the past and will reiterate again that those documents are called ‘working’ which is being accepted by the parties involved as a basis for discussion, is being negotiated for a long while and either is being signed, or is not being signed and is dispatched to the OSCE Depository. Kazan was the last one. This is one aspect.

Secondly, after the negotiations in Kazan and after the documents tabled in Kazan there had been no other paper, no other proposal by the co-chairs which in some ways or another would not maintain those main provisions that were present in the Kazan document, simply because Kazan document was based on the Madrid Principles. Of course, some issues were being further clarified, corrected etc. No single other [working] document. Including the docket with three documents never became a working document and never dispatched to the OSCE Depository, since Azerbaijan did not accept those. Even though I am supporting those now, we neither gave our agreement to that. I mean – we did not say we were against, neither we gave our agreement. And in general, after Kazan we did not give our approval to any document and neither expressed any opinion. Instead, we would tell the following: given that the Kazan document, approved by you, we were ready to sign, if you have any modifications to make, please, first seek approval by Azerbaijan, and if the Azeris agree to accept your modified proposals as a basis for future negotiations, we would then proceed to respond.

Interviewer: And that never happened?

Serzh Sargsyan: Yes, every time Azerbaijan would refuse to accept the tabled proposals as a basis for negotiations.

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