On January 15, the press conference of Foreign Minister of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh Republic) Masis Mayilian was held to summarize the activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 2019.
During the press conference, Masis Mayilian briefed on the works carried out in the foreign policy sphere for the reporting period aimed at the international recognition of the independence of Artsakh, the peaceful settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict, the provision of favorable external conditions for the safe development of Artsakh, the implementation of initiatives in the international arena that meet the interests of the country.
The Foreign Minister noted that the cornerstone of Artsakh's foreign policy is expanding the scope of Artsakh's international recognition and international cooperation, strengthening interaction and friendship between Artsakh and other states, and expanding the Republic's involvement in the peace process, emphasizing that the main efforts of the Foreign Ministry have been focused on ensuring success in these processes.
Referring to the realization of the goals, Masis Mayilian noted that the year was quite effective. Not only have efforts continued to strengthen Artsakh's international relations, but steps have been taken to expand the geography of Artsakh's international cooperation. Thus, the working visits of the Artsakh delegation to Uruguay, Argentina, Australia, the United States, Russia, France and Egypt were held, within the framework of which the NKR Foreign Minister met with representatives of the political, public and scientific circles of the respective states. As a result of these meetings arrangements on cooperation were reached. Within the framework of the visits traditional meetings with Armenian Diaspora organizations took place.
The Foreign Minister of Artsakh stressed the importance of continuing the efforts on expanding the frameworks of the decentralized cooperation between the administrative units of Artsakh and different countries. In this regard, Masis Mayilian noted, in particular, the adoption of the resolution on establishing friendly relations between Stepanakert and the Australian city of Ryde in the run-up to the working visit of the Artsakh delegation to Australia. A Circle of Friendship with Artsakh was established in Australia, involving MPs and Senators of the Federal Parliament, Ministers, as well as the Prime Minister of the State of New South Wales, the Speakers of the Upper and Lower Houses of the State Parliament, scientists, clergy and culture representatives. The Declaration of Friendship signed between Hadrut region of Artsakh and Isere Department of France in September 2019, as well as the joint Declaration signed by Artsakh’s Foreign Minister Masis Mayilian and President of the Regional Council of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes of the French Republic Laurent Wauquiez in October 2019 also testify to the continued strengthening of the friendly relations.
The Foreign Minister of Artsakh stressed the importance of the key political event of the year held in Stepanakert - the Friends of Artsakh Forum “Cooperation for the Sake of Justice and Peace” - organized jointly by the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Artsakh and the ARF Dashnaktsutyun. Representatives of parliamentary Friendship Groups and Circles, twin cities, as well as the administrative-territorial units, which had recognized the independence of Artsakh or cooperate with Artsakh, in general, over 150 representatives from about 30 states, participated in the Forum. Following the Forum, the participants adopted a Declaration, in which they called on the international community to take all necessary steps to remove the obstacles to the full-fledged participation of Artsakh in the international cooperation aimed at promoting democracy, as well as strengthening peace and stability in the region. Within the frameworks of the Forum, a decision was also made to create an international network of friends of Artsakh - “ProArtsakh” - with the aim of raising awareness of Artsakh in the international arena, protecting the legitimate interests of its people and promoting the involvement of Artsakh in international processes.
Masis Mayilian informed that the activity of the Foreign Ministry of Artsakh in international structures was reaching a new level; in particular, the Artsakh side had started a process of submitting national reports on the implementation of the provisions of international conventions, primarily in the sphere of human rights. Thus, for the first time, Artsakh disseminated in the UN a periodic report on fulfilling the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Works on the report on implementing the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights were launched. Within the frameworks of this process, the Republic of Artsakh plans to accede to the core international human rights instruments. The Republic is also expanding its involvement in the process of discussing global issues and trends. Just in this context should be considered the adoption by Artsakh of the UN “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” within the frameworks of which the National Council for Sustainable Development was established and the Voluntary National Review on the implementation of the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ was prepared and submitted to the UN.
The Foreign Minister of Artsakh also touched upon the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict settlement process, noting that the processes of the international recognition of the Republic of Artsakh, expansion of its international integration and the negotiations on the peaceful settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict are proceeding in parallel. At the same time, he stressed that the redoubling of the efforts of the policy aimed at the international recognition of Artsakh would not only help to alleviate Azerbaijan's uncompromising negotiating positions, but would also contribute to raising the level of Artsakh’s security and regional stability. Masis Mayilian stressed that in order to make real progress in the peace process and reach a final settlement of the conflict, it is necessary to restore the full trilateral format of the negotiation process with the full-fledged participation of official Stepanakert.
The Foreign Minister also noted that in 2019, the peace process on the settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict was largely aimed at maintaining stability in the region. It was noted that in general, the ceasefire regime was maintained at the state border between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Emphasizing the importance of excluding the prospects of war and ensuring stability in the conflict zone, Masis Mayilian emphasized that the Artsakh authorities continued to support the OSCE mission's regular monitoring of the ceasefire. The Foreign Minister also noted that during the year a number of confidence-building measures were agreed and implemented between the parties to the conflict aimed at creating favorable conditions for the promotion of the peace process. Masis Mayilian also underlined the importance of the meeting with the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak, during which the NKR Foreign Minister presented the Republic's position on the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict settlement. With the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, head of the Artsakh Union of Armenian Refugees from Azerbaijan Sarasar Saryan had an opportunity to present to the OSCE Chairman-in-Office the situation regarding the refugees in Artsakh. The Minister also noted that during the year the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs visited Stepanakert twice, met with the President of Artsakh, the Foreign Minister and the Minister of Defense. Masis Mayilian noted that the year of 2019 had marked the 25th anniversary of the most important document in the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict settlement process - the Agreement on the full cessation of fire and hostilities, signed by Artsakh, the Republic of Armenia and Azerbaijan, which had allowed to transfer the conflict settlement to the diplomatic realm. In this regard, on May 10, a conference was organized in Stepanakert at the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Artsakh, with the participation of political and public figures from Artsakh, Armenia and Russia. Former Co-Chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group Vladimir Kazimirov participated in the conference as an honorable guest.
During the press conference, Masis Mayilian also noted the high level of cooperation between the Foreign Ministries of Artsakh and Armenia, which allows Stepanakert to present to the counterparts in Yerevan the position of Artsakh on different key aspects of the Pan-Armenian agenda, as well as issues related to the peace process. In this context, Masis Mayilian stressed the importance of signing on July 5 the Plan of consultations between the Foreign Ministries of the Republic of Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia for 2019-2020, which allows the two Foreign Ministries to intensify the cooperation at the institutional level.
The Foreign Minister also noted that at the initiative of the Foreign Ministry the procedure for issuing visas to foreign tourists was revised. This step, along with nationwide and international political, sports and cultural events held in Artsakh, including, in particular, the Friends of Artsakh Forum, the European Championship of the Confederation of Independent Football Associations and the Pan-Armenian Games, allowed to register a record growth in the number of foreign citizens who had visited Artsakh. Compared with the previous year, the growth in 2019 amounted to around 47 % percent.