Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Turkey has been denying Armenia’s right to access to sea for three consecutive decades

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan today delivered a speech at the online ministerial meeting of the group of landlocked countries that was entitled “Cooperation for Rapid Implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action and the Sustainable Development Goals of Landlocked Countries”, as reported the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia.

The meeting was moderated by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Mukhtar Tleuberdi and gathered UN representatives, the foreign ministers of nearly two dozens of countries and the leaders of international organizations.

In his speech, Mnatsakanyan expressed gratitude to his Kazakh counterpart Mukhtar Tleuberdi for Kazakhstan’s effective chairmanship in the group of developing landlocked countries and the efforts to advance the very important agenda.

Minister Mnatsakanyan touched upon the new challenges facing landlocked countries during the novel coronavirus pandemic and, in the context of international cooperation for addressing the challenges and mitigating the consequences of the pandemic for landlocked countries, the foreign minister attached importance to the Vienna Programme of Action and the launch of the roadmap for accelerated implementation of the Programme of Action.

“The risks that emerged as a result of the coronavirus pandemic showed that in order for the efforts for response and recovery to be effective, it is necessary to focus on overcoming inequality, discrimination and the deficiency of inclusiveness. It is important that we address not only the damages caused by the pandemic, but also the previous hindrances to development — blockades and unilateral coercive measures are devastating for sustainable development and contradict the efforts put in for response and recovery. The blockades and unilateral coercive measures undermine not only development, but also peace and security in the region.

For three consecutive decades, Turkey has been denying Armenia’s right to have access to the sea by closing the terrestrial border. This medieval blockade can’t be justified from the perspective of reason or international law since it directly violates not only the relevant international convention and customary law, but also international treaties.

Armenia stays fully true to effective multilateral cooperation for global, international and regional development. We continue to view inclusive cooperation between landlocked and transit countries as the main precondition for eliminating the political obstacles for the free movement of people, goods and services and effective exercise of the social, economic and other rights of all peoples. The promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, gender equality and inclusiveness, as well as the strengthening of democratic values are priorities for Armenia, based on the understanding that human rights are universal for all parts of the world and all nations and individuals, regardless of place of residence or status.

The ensuring of the human-centered approach hinged on human rights remains overriding in the efforts for response and recovery, and Armenia is fully committed to this. The strengthening of human resources and the perception of national talent as a driving force for smart development prescribe the essence of the reform and recovery agenda of Armenia, and what is particularly stressed are information and communication technologies, the promotion of innovation and the development of the IT sector. Importance is attached to the latter as an effective tool for cutting expenses and facilitating entry into foreign markets,” the foreign minister stated.

In closing, the foreign minister reaffirmed Armenia’s commitment to effective multilateral cooperation in support of the Vienna Programme of Action and the six primary sectors of the roadmap for accelerated implementation of the Programme of Action.