Marat Terterov: Armenia’s long term security will be better served by strengthening economic security, rather than defining national security on the basis of the Tsarist Russian catch-cry “armiya i flot”
"The Stepanakert Airport must be put into operation and we will make flights despite anything. We are civil aviation and we work to ensure the people's right of free movement stipulated by the International Law," says Dmitry Atbashyan, Head of the NKR Civil Aviation Department, commenting on the
Azerbaijani Government's decision to hit the Armenian planes flying from Nagorno Karabakh.
ArmInfo's correspondent to Stepanakert cites Dmitry Atbashyan as saying: "Azerbaijan is well aware that our stance is in harmony with the International Law and we can make it to reckon with the given fact with help of the international organizations."
Atbashyan said that the Stepanakert Airport is ready for exploitation. It is equipped in line with the up-to- date requirements and has highly qualified staff and personnel. The airport has a certificate of compliance with the international standards. However, Atbashyan did not announce the date of the first flight. Earlier Prime Minister of NKR Ara Haroutiunyan said that technical flights will be launched at the Stepanakert Airport shortly and will continue for several months.
In Nov 2012 Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) Foreign Minister Karen Mirzoyan sent a letter to the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council in which he called on the international organization to assist in the operation of the Stepanakert Airport. Below is the text of the letter obtained from Artsakh Foreign Ministry.
The operation of the Stepanakert airport is the sovereign right of the NKR and pursues solely civilian and humanitarian objectives, including the realization of such a basic human right as freedom of movement. Freedom of movement of the civilian population of the NKR alongside with other human rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other core international bodies have already been continuously and vehemently undermined by the ongoing Azerbaijani blockade. This stance of Azerbaijan is a clear manifestation of its recklesst disregard for human rights and
fundamental freedoms as a continuation of its policy of collective punishment of civilian population.
The threats of Azerbaijan to shoot down civil aircrafts in particular, violates the provisions of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and runs counter to the commitments undertaken in the framework of the negotiation process mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair states, to reject any threat or use of force against civil aircraft, pursue the matter through diplomatic steps, and refrain from politicizing the issue.
Such threats, along with the statements on the highest level declaring all Armenians of the world as enemy number one of Azerbaijan are a vivid example of the long-established anti-Armenian hysteria and xenophobia of the Azeri state policy. The pardon and nationwide glorification of Ramil Safarov, Azerbaijani officer, who was convicted to the life imprisonment in Hungary for perpetuating brutal hate crime, a manslaughter, is the most shocking yet just recent manifestation of this policy. In this context, my Government considers the steps taken by the Government of the Republic of
Azerbaijan, in particular declarations on undertaking "all necessary measures" in order to prevent the functioning of the Stepanakert Airport along with previous threats to shoot down civil planes as irresponsible and politically charged actions.