Statement by the Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the UN Security Council meeting on the escalation of tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan
We thank Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenca for the briefing.
The Russian Federation is extremely concerned with the sharp escalation in certain areas along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border on the night of September 12-13, as well as subsequent exchange of gunfire. As a result, a large number of military personnel died and there were civilian casualties. We express our deepest condolences to their families and wish the wounded a speedy recovery.
We consider the use of force unacceptable. We count on the fulfillment of all the ceasefire agreements mediated by Russia. We call on Azerbaijan and Armenia to show restraint and refrain from steps that could lead to an increased tension, as well as to strictly comply with the agreements within the framework of the tripartite statements of the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia made on 9 November 2020 and 11 January and 26 November 2021.
In an effort to stabilize the situation, the leadership of the Russian Federation remains in close contact with Baku and Yerevan. During their telephone conversations, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, the Foreign Ministers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the Ministers of Defense of Russia and Armenia discussed the issues of reducing tensions. We expect that this topic will be at the center of attention during the meeting between Vladimir Putin and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan that will take place on the sidelines of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to be held in Samarkand on September 15-16.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense and the Federal Security Service (FSB) Border Service are also making significant efforts. Our military remains in close contact with both sides in order to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and the return of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops to their original positions.
The situation was also discussed at the extraordinary session of the CSTO Collective Security Council held on September 13. As a result, its members agreed to send a mission of the Secretariat and the CSTO Joint Headquarters to the Republic of Armenia to study the situation in certain areas on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and to develop appropriate recommendations and proposals to be considered subsequently by the Heads of member States of our Organization. It was decided that the mission should be headed by the CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas and Chief of the CSTO Joint Staff, Colonel General Anatoly Sidorov. Today, the mission is beginning to implement the tasks it was assigned. We hope that its objective work on the ground will become one of the factors that will contribute to the de-escalation of the situation.
We continue to believe that all disputes between Armenia and Azerbaijan should be resolved exclusively through political and diplomatic means, and, with regard to the border issues, through the work of the bilateral Commission on the Delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Border, with the advisory support of Russia. By the way, the first meeting of the national delegations took place on May 24 at the very border, while the second one was held in Moscow on August 30. The main work will be carried out by Baku and Yerevan, but we stand ready to share our experience in the field of delimitation and demarcation of borders in the post-Soviet space, provide maps and other materials as well as other necessary advisory and technical assistance. In order for these efforts to be effective, it is important to contribute to increasing the level of stability and security in the border area without outside interference and to avoid politicization. Unfortunately, as demonstrated by the events of September 12-13, the issues of delimitation and demarcation are very sensitive, and are not devoid of failures and escalation. We need a speedy stabilization process and a return to dialogue.
Russia is doing everything possible to normalize relations between the countries on the basis of the aforementioned tripartite statements by the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. The first of them, first and foremost, put an end to the hostilities and determined the parameters for the deployment of the Russian peacekeeping contingent along the Lachin corridor and the contact line in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict area. Our peacekeepers continue to ensure the ceasefire in their area of responsibility and assist in solving acute humanitarian problems. Following up on the provisions of the first statement, in January 2021 parties adopted the next statement in relation to the unblocking of all economic and transport communications in the region. A trilateral working group has been established and is operating under the joint chairmanship of the Vice-Premiers of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia. The group has been able to achieve serious results, a package of major projects is being coordinated with an emphasis on launching railway and road communication between Azerbaijan and Armenia, with possible access to neighboring countries. Such projects include the construction of a railway as well as a highway between the western regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic through the territory of the Syunik region of Armenia. One of the key topics of the third statement of November 26, 2021 was the establishment of mechanisms for border demarcation and delimitation.
In addition, one of the main focus within our efforts to promote normalization of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations is drafting a peace treaty. Both sides confirmed to us the need for appropriate Russian assistance. We treat this issue with full responsibility. Despite the current escalation of tensions, work has not stopped. The Russian special respresentative for promoting the normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Igor Khovaev, visited Baku on September 8-9 and Yerevan on September 13-14. Relevant consultations and the search for common ground will continue.
Obviously, we are only at the beginning of the difficult path of reconciliation between the two countries. We are convinced that the full implementation of the provisions of the trilateral statements of the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia remains the basis for the normalization of relations between Baku and Yerevan. All three documents are complex, inextricably linked, and their provisions follow one from the other. Their implementation will provide a basis for ensuring sustainable peace in the South Caucasus, which is in the interests of not only the States of the region, but also of all its neighbors. Russia is determined to continue to provide Baku and Yerevan with all the necessary assistance in order to implement the agreements in the formats and a scale acceptable to both sides. Achieving sustainable results will require time and significant efforts on the part of both Baku and Yerevan, as well as the unity of the international community. Geopolitical competition and zero-sum games can only harm the process. But the main thing for today is to stop the clashes and implement the ceasefire agreements.