Leaders of US, Russia, France Among Those Offering Congratulations on 30th Anniversary of Independence

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YEREVAN (Combined Sources) — In a message sent on September 21, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Armenia’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union, President Joe Biden said the United States will continue to strive for a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Biden also promised continued US support for the Armenian state “efforts to strengthen your democratic institutions, advance human rights, combat corruption, and uphold the rule of law. “

“The Armenian people have faced challenges over the last year, including the tragic loss of life in the fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” added the letter published by the US Embassy in Yerevan.

“As we mourn with the people of Armenia, we will work hand in hand with your government, including through the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] Minsk Group and other regional formats, to promote regional stability and conflict resolution. The United States will continue to advocate for the release of all Armenian detainees held in Azerbaijan. “

The US ambassador to Armenia, Lynne Tracy, has repeatedly said since then that the Karabakh conflict remains unresolved after last year’s Armenian-Azerbaijani war.

“We do not see the status of Nagorno-Karabakh as having been resolved,” Tracy insisted on September 13.

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The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry condemned the envoy’s remarks. It echoed President Ilham Aliyev’s repeated claims that Azerbaijan’s victory in the six-week war put an end to the conflict.

Aliyev ruled out on July 22 any negotiations on Karabakh’s status, saying Yerevan must instead recognize Azerbaijani sovereignty over the Armenian-populated territory.

Later in July the US, Russian and French co-chairs of the Minsk Group issued a joint statement calling for a “negotiated, comprehensive, and sustainable settlement of all remaining core substantive issues of the conflict” and urging the conflicting parties to resume talks. as soon as possible.”

Russian Ties

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his greetings to President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, pointed out that Armenia and Russia had established close cooperation in various spheres, and that they were interacting constructively within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Unio, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Kremlin reported.

“Relations with Armenia are based on the good traditions of friendship and cultural and spiritual similarity. Their further development in the spirit of allied relations, doubtless, meets the vital interests of our fraternal peoples,” Putin stressed.

French Cultural Protection

French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to help safeguard the cultural and religious heritage of the South Caucasus region, in the aftermath of the 44-day war unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) almost a year ago.

Macron made the remarks in his message marking the 30th anniversary of Armenia’s independence on Tuesday, September 21, mentioning the significant journey that Armenia has traveled towards building “a modern and democratic state and consolidating the functioning of its institutions”.

“France and Armenia have forged a special relationship throughout history, which continues today in all areas. I hope that this link which forms the richness of our bilateral relationship will deepen even further, be it our cooperation in sectors as varied as culture, education, health or even economic cooperation,” Macron said.

“France wants to play a role in the establishment of peace in the region and it is in this spirit that it stands by Armenia to help it overcome the challenges facing it, one year after the deadly conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. In this regard, France will work in particular to safeguard the cultural and religious heritage of the region, which reflects the uniqueness and wealth of the South Caucasus.”

Concerns about the preservation of cultural sites in Nagorno-Karabakh are made all the more urgent by the Azerbaijani government’s history of systemically destroying indigenous Armenian heritage—acts of both warfare and historical revisionism. The Azerbaijani government has secretly destroyed a striking number of cultural and religious artifacts in the late 20th century. Within Nakhichevan alone, a historically Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani forces destroyed at least 89 medieval churches, 5,840 khachkars (Armenian cross stones) and 22,000 historical tombstones between 1997 and 2006.

The French President said his country will spare no effort to find, a lasting settlement of the conflict within the co-chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group and a stabilization of the situation in the South Caucasus to benefit regional development and prosperity.

“It also requires a resumption of dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan under the auspices of the co-presidency of the Minsk Group. France, in her capacity as co-chair, is ready to help,” he added.

Iran Cooperation

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi expressed his administration’s willingness to boost relations with Armenia in various fields, saying closer mutual cooperation will fulfill the interests of the two neighbors and strengthen regional security and stability.

In the message for the Armenian premier, the Iranian president hailed the mutually constructive relations between Tehran and Yerevan that have grown quantitively and qualitatively in recent years.

He also noted that the ample capacities of the two neighbors and the new regional and international conditions necessitate the promotion of mutual ties, stepped up efforts to implement the previous bilateral agreements, exploration of avenues for interaction, and strengthening of bonds in different arenas.

(PanArmenian.net, Panorama.am and Azatutyun contributed to this report.)

 

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