“The day the Azerbaijani government puts aside military language, declares its loyalty to the principles already agreed upon and wants to sit at the negotiating table, the peace process can be achieved”
The recent words of the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, “unfortunately distance any peace process in the region”. The Armenian ambassador to Rome, Tsovinar Hambardzumyan, stated this in an interview with Adnkronos, after Aliyev, in recent days, on the occasion of a military parade in Stepanakert, declared that “after the second Karabakh war, we further accelerated the process of building the army without stopping a single day and without hiding it.”
“The day that the Azerbaijani government puts aside military language, declares its loyalty to the principles already agreed upon and wants to sit at the negotiating table, the peace process can be achieved”, continues the ambassador, according to whom the Southern Caucasus “needs of peace, however, there is a lack of political will on the part of the Azerbaijani leadership and respect for the agreements reached”.
According to Hambardzumyan, peace will be possible only if Azerbaijan “remains faithful to the fundamental principles agreed during the meetings in Prague and Brussels” and which “are based on mutual recognition of territorial integrity” and on the 1991 Alma-Ata Declaration for regarding borders.
“I understand that it is difficult for international public opinion to orient themselves when it is above all mutual accusations that are highlighted in the media. To facilitate understanding of the situation there is an infallible method: following the concrete facts – explains the ambassador – Armenia over the last 30 years it has always worked to achieve lasting peace, solely through negotiations. But Azerbaijan has done nothing but refuse any compromise by adopting an armaments policy and resorting to the use of force and warmongering language”.
“humanitarian catastrophe displaced, ethnic cleansing from Baku”
The “forced exodus” of 100 thousand Armenians, including 30 thousand children, from Nagorno-Karabakh after the Azerbaijani military operation was a “humanitarian catastrophe” and an effect of the “ethnic cleansing” carried out by the Baku government, Hambardzumyan denounces, underlining that the Armenians who fled the region “must not only be able to return to their lands, but have every right to do so. Except that with a dictatorial regime like there is in Azerbaijan, this does not seem feasible”.
The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh were “forced to leave their homes, their possessions and the land of their ancestors: how can this be defined if not ethnic cleansing”, adds the ambassador, according to whom the “total siege ” the region by Azerbaijan targeted “a defenseless and exhausted population, after the total blockade of the only road that connected the region to Armenia and through which all basic necessities passed”.
Azerbaijan “now wants to make the world believe that the rights of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh were respected and their physical safety was not in danger”, insists Hambardzumyan, denouncing instead that the Azerbaijani authorities have “deprived” the citizens of Nagorno- Karabakh supply of gas, electricity, internet connections, education, work and medicine.
“In practically three days, Armenia had to welcome all the forcibly displaced people, ensuring them food, accommodation, material and psychological assistance – underlines the ambassador – If we think that a country like Italy has difficulty managing 120 thousand arrivals, not in three days, but in the space of a year, we can imagine what it means for a small country like Armenia to face a humanitarian catastrophe of this magnitude.”
On the accusations of ethnic cleansing leveled by Baku against Yerevan, Hambardzumyan believes that in reality the Azeris have “confused the roles, who is the perpetrator of the genocide and who suffers it”, adding that “it is not surprising that Azerbaijan once again a ridiculous attempt to save face and want to blame others.”
“Hamas-Israel war? Violence does not resolve conflicts”
“The escalation of the conflict in the Middle East is truly dramatic, innocent civilians are being killed. We join the international calls to stop the violence and to take all measures to end the hostilities as soon as possible and to guarantee the safety of the civilian population”, he declares Hambardzumyan, commenting on the war between Israel and Hamas.
“Unfortunately, old conflicts, wars and civilian suffering are rekindling in different parts of the world. This is a very sensitive issue for us. Only a month ago we witnessed the same events in our region – he highlights – We firmly believe that violence does not is in no way a solution to the conflict and that peaceful negotiations are the only way to restore peace and stability and find just and mutually acceptable solutions to existing problems.”
“excellent political and economic relations with Italy”
Italy and Armenia “enjoy solid interstate relations, with a high-level political dialogue. In recent years these relations have intensified even more thanks to the state visits of the presidents of the two countries”, says the Armenian ambassador in Rome, recalling how since its independence Armenia has established and developed “excellent political, economic and cultural relations with Italy” which are based on “rich and ancient traditions and shared values”.
“During my mission in Italy we celebrated an important milestone in our relations: the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Italy. In my meetings with the leaders of Italian politics, the historicity of our relations and the strong interest of both sides to look to the future with the aim of strengthening and expanding them even further”, asserts the ambassador, specifying that “clearly the historical foundations and the high level of political dialogue between Armenia and Italy create a favorable environment for the business world of both countries”.
“Italy – he concludes – is Armenia’s second commercial partner among the countries of the European Union and the seventh among the countries of the world. Last year we had an increase in commercial turnover of 20%, and in the first half This year we have already recorded an increase of 41%.”