WATERTOWN — When Foreign Minister of the Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) Republic Sergey Ghazaryan took office in January 2023, the now over-eight-month blockade of Artsakh had already begun. The 44-year-old Stepanakert native was chosen in part for the position because as Artsakh’s representative to Armenia since July 2020, he was already located in Yerevan, and so could have easier communications with the outside world. In fact, he said that taking into consideration the various difficulties connected with shortages of electricity, fuel, and as a result no public transportation, and issues of daily life now in the capital of Stepanakert, a good amount of the work of the ministry must be carried out in Yerevan.
As people begin to die of malnutrition in Artsakh due to the blockade, the current objective of Azerbaijan is clear to Ghazaryan, who declared: “Azerbaijan is trying to reach its genocidal goal to ethnically cleanse Artsakh of its indigenous Armenian population. Even now no Armenian is safe. The abduction of our citizens in the illegal Azerbaijani checkpoint at the Lachin Corridor is a vivid example. The declarations of the Azerbaijan president, that those who are not ready to accept Azerbaijani citizenship must abandon these territories, also attest to that. I do not know people in Artsakh who will be ready to accept Azerbaijani citizenship. Back in 1991, our people, declared independence and expressed the collective will to live safely and freely in their ancestral homeland. Until today, our collective view has not changed.”
Expectations from International community
Ghazaryan expressed his dissatisfaction with the results of the United Nations Security Council meeting discussing the blockade on August 16. He declared: “As you know on August 8, 2023, the Artsakh Republic’s president issued an urgent call outlining the expectations from different actors of the international community, including the Republic of Armenia. In response to that appeal, the Republic of Armenia called for this urgent UN Security Council meeting. We had great hopes. If there were a resolution adopted, it could have prepared a strong basis for an airlift to be carried out and bring necessary humanitarian aid, despite the obstacles that the Azerbaijani side might create. However, once again we witnessed the politicization of human rights and human lives.”
The Artsakh government’s position has not changed. He said: “We have declared on numerous occasions that the time for statements is over, and we expect concrete steps, mostly by the global actors represented in the UN Security Council, three of whom for many years were involved in the Artsakh-Azerbaijan or Nagorno-Karabakh peace process through the Minsk Group co-chairmanship. We have consistently stated that they in their turn bear responsibility for the situation created.” More specifically, he said of the Security Council that “now we expect this process will have its logical continuation, which will be expressed not only in the adoption of a resolution, but also concrete steps emerging from all this to suppress Azerbaijan.”
Previously, in January 2023, the International Court of Justice of the United Nations ordered Azerbaijan to end the blockade, and reaffirmed this order in July, without result. Ghazaryan added: “If the decision of the International Court of Justice is ignored by Azerbaijan, this also pertains to the authority of the entire structure of the UN. This is a very bad precedent for the entire system of international relations.”