Pashinyan outlines Azerbaijan’s goal in March 5 terror attack in Nagorno Karabakh



 11:46, 9 March 2023

YEREVAN, MARCH 9, ARMENPRESS. By launching the terror attack in Nagorno Karabakh on March 5 Azerbaijan sought to derail the negotiations, make fabricated accusations on shipments of arms from Armenia to Nagorno Karabakh and create new fake narratives and information flows in order to divert attention from its non-compliance with the International Court of Justice ruling, PM Nikol Pashinyan said on Thursday.

Speaking at the Cabinet meeting, PM Pashinyan said the situation has escalated in Nagorno Karabakh in conditions of the blockade of Lachin Corridor.

He said that on March 5, an Azerbaijani military unit ambushed a police vehicle of Nagorno Karabakh which was en route from Nagorno Karabakh’s Stepanakert to Nagorno Karabakh’s Hin Shen and Mets Shen, killing three police officers and wounding one.  

Pashinyan extended condolences to the families of the officers and the entire police force of Nagorno Karabakh, and noted that all three fallen officers were born in Nagorno Karabakh.

“This fact is especially important on the background of the Azerbaijani President’s remarks made during the Munich Security Conference on February 18, 2023, where he accepted that there is an international agreement whereby they must discuss with the representatives of the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh their rights and security. However, the Azerbaijani President said that they were going to have these discussions with the people who were born and have lived in Nagorno Karabakh. On March 1, the first meeting between the representatives of Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan took place in the headquarters of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno Karabakh, and only four days later Azerbaijan launched the abovementioned provocation, which is difficult to be described anything other than terrorism. This act of terrorism left three citizens who were born in Nagorno Karabakh and had 1, 2 and 3 children there dead,” Pashinyan said.

The PM outlined Azerbaijan’s goals in the March 5 attack.

“First goal was to derail future negotiations with representatives of Nagorno Karabakh and create the necessary background for a new military provocation. In this regard I have to stress that the Foreign Ministry of Nagorno Karabakh released a statement yesterday expressing readiness to continue dialogue with Azerbaijan. This is an extremely important statement. I think it is necessary to create reliable international mechanisms in order for an uninterrupted and institutional Baku-Stepanakert conversation to take place, and this could become an effective guarantee for the implementation of the abovementioned international obligation. The next goal of the March 5 provocation was to create fake evidence falsely accusing Armenia in shipping arms to Nagorno Karabakh. This topic is important for Azerbaijan especially after the February 22 ruling by the International Court of Justice, when the court unequivocally rejected Azerbaijan’s request whereby Azerbaijan was accusing Armenia in planting landmines. The groundless accusations on planting landmines made against Armenia in several international platforms collapsed with this rejection. And now Azerbaijan attempted to misrepresent the March 5 incident as a proof on arms shipments from Armenia to Nagorno Karabakh, which failed for two reasons. First of all, the police vehicle was not en route to Stepanakert, but on the contrary it was en route from Stepanakert, and secondly the Azerbaijani ambush and the course of travel of the police vehicle was caught on Nagorno Karabakh police surveillance cameras, which made it obvious that the police car did not contain anything else other than documents and sidearms.  Azerbaijan’s next goal was the following. To develop new narratives and information flows with the bloody terrorism to conceal an important fact, that Azerbaijan is explicitly not fulfilling the ruling of the highest court in the world, the International Court of Justice, on opening the Lachin Corridor,” Pashinyan said.

The United Nations’ highest court – the International Court of Justice (ICJ) – ordered Azerbaijan on February 22 to “take all steps at its disposal” to ensure unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles and cargo along the Lachin Corridor in both directions. The Lachin Corridor is blocked by Azerbaijan since 12 December 2022. 

“Azerbaijan is not abiding by this ruling for already 15 days, and this is exclusively Azerbaijan’s responsibility. And furthermore Azerbaijan is resorting to new provocations to further escalate the situation in Nagorno Karabakh,” the Armenian PM added.

Armenia still listed “partly free” by democracy watchdog Freedom House



 13:42, 9 March 2023

YEREVAN, MARCH 9, ARMENPRESS. U.S. democracy watchdog Freedom House again listed Armenia as “partly free” in its latest Freedom in the World Report 2023.

Armenia received a score of 54 out of 100. In the previous year Armenia’s score was 55.

“Azerbaijani forces continued to attack and occupy Armenian territory along the border, threatening the democratic government in Yerevan and raising the risk of full-scale war,” Freedom House noted in the report.

The report stated that Azerbaijan’s regime stepped up its military aggression toward Armenia and that Armenia suffered repeated attacks by Azerbaijan on its sovereign territory in 2022.

Azerbaijan spreads fake news falsely accusing Armenia and Artsakh of opening gunfire



 14:07, 9 March 2023

YEREVAN, MARCH 9, ARMENPRESS. The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense is again spreading fake news falsely accusing the Armenian military of opening gunfire at Azerbaijani positions.

In a statement, the Armenian Ministry of Defense said that the statement released by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense claiming that Armenian Armed Forces opened fire overnight March 8-9 at Azerbaijani positions deployed in the eastern section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani borderline is false.

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense also made fake accusations against the Artsakh Defense Army, falsely accusing them of opening fire. In a statement, the Artsakh military denied this accusation. “The statement released by the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan claiming that Defense Army units opened fire between 8 March 21:30 and 9 March 04:15 in the direction of Azerbaijani positions deployed in the occupied territories of the Shushi, Martuni, Askeran and Berdzor regions of the Republic of Artsakh is yet another disinformation,” the statement released by the Ministry of Defense of Artsakh reads.

Cabinet approves ratifying Armenia-Georgia simplified travel requirements



 14:45, 9 March 2023

YEREVAN, MARCH 9, ARMENPRESS. The Cabinet approved on March 9 the bill on ratifying the agreement on introducing simplified visa-free travel document requirements between Armenia and Georgia whereby nationals of the two countries will have the opportunity to cross the border only with ID cards instead of passports. The agreement was signed on January 12, 2023.

It will take effect after ratification by parliament.

Minister Suren Papikyan, Ambassador of Finland discuss possibility of defense cooperation



 16:40, 9 March 2023

YEREVAN, MARCH 9, ARMENPRESS. Armenian Minister of Defense Suren Papikyan on March 9 held a meeting with the Ambassador of Finland to Armenia Kirsti Narinen.

Issues related to possibilities of bilateral cooperation in the defense sector were discussed, the defense ministry said in a read-out.

Minister Papikyan presented the course of the ongoing reforms in the Armenian military at the request of the ambassador.

A number of issues concerning regional security were also discussed.

Central Bank of Armenia: exchange rates and prices of precious metals – 09-03-23



 17:10, 9 March 2023

YEREVAN, 9 MARCH, ARMENPRESS. The Central Bank of Armenia informs “Armenpress” that today, 9 March, USD exchange rate down by 0.11 drams to 388.49 drams. EUR exchange rate down by 3.65 drams to 410.56 drams. Russian Ruble exchange rate down by 0.03 drams to 5.12 drams. GBP exchange rate down by 4.83 drams to 461.84 drams.

The Central Bank has set the following prices for precious metals.

Gold price down by 415.59 drams to 22686.03 drams. Silver price down by 12.31 drams to 251.12 drams. Platinum price stood at 16414.1 drams.

Armenian and Egyptian FMs highlight constructive engagement of stakeholders in the South Caucasus



 18:39, 9 March 2023

YEREVAN, MARCH 9, ARMENPRESS. Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, who was invited to the ministerial session of the Arab League Council, had a meeting with Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on March 9 in Cairo.

As ARMENPRESS was informed from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, the interlocutors expressed satisfaction with the high-level political dialogue and relations based on centuries-old friendship between the peoples of Armenia and Egypt. The sides expressed conviction that the historic visit of the Egyptian President to Armenia in January will be a new impetus for the expansion of bilateral cooperation.

Ararat Mirzoyan and Sameh Shoukry exchanged ideas on the perspectives of cooperation between the two countries in trade and economy, information technologies, tourism and other fields. In this regard, the holding of the next, 6th session of the Armenian-Egyptian intergovernmental commission and the need to activate business ties were highlighted.

International and regional security and stability issues were discussed at the meeting.

Minister Mirzoyan presented to his colleague the latest developments in the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the efforts of the Armenian side to establish peace and stability in the region, and the escalation of tension by Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh in recent days. The Armenian FM emphasized that Azerbaijan continues to keep blocked the Lachin Corridor, grossly violating the obligations assumed by the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020.

Referring to Armenia's traditional friendly relations with the countries of the Arab world, Minister Mirzoyan considered the speculations of the religious factor and groundless attempts by Azerbaijan to give a religious tone to exclusively political and humanitarian issues and to mislead the international community as inadmissible.

Both sides emphasized the importance of maintaining the attention of the international community towards the region and the constructive involvement of interested actors.

Minister Mirzoyan also presented to his Egyptian counterpart the process of normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey.

The search for solutions to the situation over Lachin Corridor continues. Zakharova



 19:00, 9 March 2023

YEREVAN, MARCH 9, ARMENPRESS. The search for solutions to the situation around Lachin and Nagorno-Karabakh as a whole continues, ARMENPRESS reports, the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Maria Zakharova, said.

Zakharova said that there is communication with Armenia and Azerbaijan in cooperation with the Russian Foreign Ministry and with the participation of the Russian peacekeeping force.

"The search for ways to resolve the situation around the Lachin Corridor and Nagorno Karabakh in general continues," Zakharova said, without providing further details.

Since December 12, 2022, Azerbaijan has closed the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia and the world, the Lachin Corridor.

Armenpress: EU calls on Azerbaijan to leave the occupied territory of Armenia and return to the borders of September 12. Dutch FM



 21:15, 9 March 2023

YEREVAN, MARCH 9, ARMENPRESS. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Wopke Hoekstra, stressed the fact of Azerbaijan's occupation of the territory of Armenia, emphasizing that the EU calls on Azerbaijan to return to its borders of September 12, 2022, ARMENPRESS reports the Federation of Armenian Organizations of the Netherlands informs that the Minister said this in response to the questions of several parliamentary factions regarding the meeting of the leaders of the Netherlands and Azerbaijan in Davos.

Wopke Hoekstra informed that the meeting held in Davos in January between Prime Minister Rutte and President Aliyev was initiated by the Dutch side in order to convey the concerns about the blockade of Lachin Corridor, during which the Dutch Prime Minister emphasized that the civilian population of Nagorno-Karabakh should not become victims of the political situation and emphasized the unblocking of the Lachin Corridor in fulfillment of the 2020 trilateral agreement.

The Dutch FM informed that the Netherlands is also actively working within the framework of the EU and the Council of Europe to unblock the Lachin Corridor, noting that Azerbaijan is poorly implementing the rulings of the ECHR.

In the answers to the parliamentarians' questions, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands confirmed that Azerbaijan imports gas from Russia to ensure the fulfillment of its obligations to the European Union and emphasized that this issue will be raised by the European Commission.

Minister Wopke Hoekstra reaffirmed Azerbaijan's occupation of Armenian territory, stressing that the EU calls on Azerbaijan to return to the borders of September 12, 2022.

In his answers, the Minister also referred to the issue of Armenian prisoners of war held illegally in Azerbaijan, assuring that the necessity of their repatriation is constantly raised in negotiations with Azerbaijani officials.

Further steps related to ensuring fire and technical safety of gas stations discussed at Government



 20:19, 9 March 2023

YEREVAN, MARCH 9, ARMENPRESS. Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Khachatryan and Chief of the Prime Minister's Staff Arayik Harutyunyan held a consultation in the Government regarding issues of fire and technical safety in gas stations in Yerevan and the places of their locations, ARMENPRESS was informed from the Government of Armenia.

Those responsible for the sector and representatives of private companies took part in the meeting.

Garegin Khachatryan, Head of Urban Development, Technical Standards and Fire Safety Inspectorate, presented details about the conclusions obtained as a result of preliminary inspections and fire technical examinations at 209 gas stations.

Taking into account the existing problems in the field, the need to study the internationally accepted norms, possible solution options and alternative methods was emphasized.

According to Tigran Khachatryan, the regulations in the field should be such that the threats to human life are not ignored, as well as they should be understandable and applicable for the companies operating in the field.

The Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister, Arayik Harutyunyan, emphasized the issue of social responsibility in all spheres and emphasized that human safety should not be in the background.

It was agreed to continue the discussions in order to understand what needs to be done in the direction of the problems that require a priority solution and to fully implement them.