Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   19 November

In case of resuming military activities, Azerbaijan will start talking about loss of larger territories: Armenia's President

STRASBOURG, OCTOBER 2, ARMENPRESS. All the three main principles of the Helsinki final act must function jointly. Armenia is willing to reach agreement based on them. But in case of resuming the military activities, Azerbaijan will start talking about the loss of major territories. The President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan stated this at the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. "The OSCE Minsk Group is engaged in the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and the negotiations are ongoing. Notwithstanding Azerbaijan has shown for a number of times that they do not accept the two principles put forward by the Co-Chairs, and among them is the right of self-determination of the nations."

Among other things the President underscored: "Peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue under the aegis of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship has been and will remain our priority until we achieve a comprehensive settlement. We value the efforts of all those who support regional stability, but we also know that we must rely primarily on our own power to deter the opponent against possible negative developments and to maintain peace, especially as the leader of our neighboring state continues to make public statements threatening with war, declaring the Armenians his "enemy number one", boasting about disproportionate increases in military spending, and the buildup of arms.

Nonetheless, I hope that the people of Azerbaijan or their significant part actually do not share this mindset. Unfortunately, those in Azerbaijan who are trying to bring up candid memories of the past, which was once shared with the Armenian people, are being publicly admonished, threatened "to have their ears cut," and expelled from the country. Hence, the actual mood of the people of Azerbaijan is not articulated and whatever is voiced is demanded by the propaganda machine. It results in the ineffectiveness of any attempt to implement confidence-building measures.

I am confident that our peoples will have a better future than the one contemplated by some leaders who preach hatred and war. As I have already stated publicly on other occasions, I do not consider the people of Azerbaijan to be the enemy of the Armenian people. We are capable of respectfully resolving our disagreements and peacefully co-existing as neighbors.

Two days ago, my people mourned demise of Sos Sargsyan, a brilliant actor, the People’s Artist of the Republic of Armenia. The master's last public statement was his open letter to the intellectuals of Azerbaijan, which was nothing but an appeal for peace, justice, and reason: 'Are you really going to unleash a war? My dear neighbors! It will bring nothing except innocent victims. Why? It is very simple: Karabakh is a territory for you, but a Sacred Fatherland for us,” wrote the great intellectual. Indeed, we regularly appeal for sobriety and firmly claim that zealous incitement of xenophobia, unyielding threats to use force and the arms race will not do any good. Peace and cooperation are the only feasible means of building a prosperous future for the peoples of the region. It is an axiom that requires no proof.

The international experience proves that democratic societies are best placed to resolve conflicts peacefully. In the last two decades, democratic institutions have been built and continuously developed in Nagorno Karabakh. According to respectable international organizations such as the Freedom House, the level of democracy in Nagorno Karabakh is noticeably higher than in some of its neighbors.

Karabakh has been and will remain a part of Europe. Its people are a part of the European family, regardless of Karabakh's political status. Therefore, I believe that the Council of Europe could, regardless of Karabakh’s status, initiate direct contacts with Karabakh within the framework of its pertinent functions, especially since the Council of Europe has similar experiences with respect to other conflict zones."

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