Armenian Foreign Minister Visits Vienna Because of Nagorno-Karabakh's Worsening Humanitarian Situation

PeopleOther ♦ Published: January 17, 2023; 18:12 ♦ (Vindobona)

Armenia's Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan is currently on a working visit to Vienna to participate in the Special Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council initiated by Armenia, due to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. In addition, Mirzoyan met with Ghada Fathi Waly, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna and with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

Ararat Mirzoyan, Armenia's Foreign Minister, is currently in Vienna on a working visit. / Picture: © OSCE Parliamentary Assembly / Flickr Attribution (CC BY-SA 2.0,

Armenia called for the Special Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council due to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh caused by Azerbaijan's blockade of the Lachin Corridor. In the meeting, Armenia's Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan emphasized that Azerbaijan's actions seek to subject the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to ethnic cleansing. Mirzoyan stressed the imperative of clear actions by international partners to stop the inhuman blockade of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.

According to Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, the OSCE can play a vital role not just in achieving peace, but also in maintaining it through the involvement of its structures.

According to him, it is clear that the OSCE is not experiencing its best days, and the situation in the South Caucasus is not the only crisis that the organization is facing. In addition, he believes the OSCE and its bodies should pay due attention to all conflicts within the OSCE's sphere of responsibility.

Since the beginning of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the OSCE and the Minsk Group have been involved in its political resolution. As long as there is no political settlement to the conflict, the Minsk Group remains responsible.

U.S. Ambassador Michael Carpenter and the OSCE have urged Azerbaijan and Russia to restore unhindered transit as soon as possible following prior commitments, which include guarantees, as you quoted, for the security of persons, vehicles and cargo moving along the Lachin Corridor in both directions. To resolve this conflict, Carpenter assured Azerbaijan and Armenia that the United States will work bilaterally, multilaterally through partners such as the European Union, and through international organizations such as the OSCE.

Philip Reeker, Senior Advisor to the US Secretary of State for Caucasus Negotiations and Co-Chair of the Minsk Group, said earlier that the OSCE Minsk Group mechanism no longer works, and Washington can only reach a peaceful settlement between Armenia and Azerbaijan by directly interacting with Baku and Yerevan. In his opinion, a situation has arisen in which the parties can end this mandate by consensus.

Mirzoyan meets Schallenberg

After several meetings in the past, Austria's Foreign Minister Schallenberg met again with Armenian Foreign Minister Mirzoyan. The two foreign ministers underlined the excellent bilateral relations, the positive developments through the increased economic cooperation and the cultural closeness of both countries.

The working meeting focused on the tense situation in the South Caucasus, which is currently further aggravated by the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, the only road connecting Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Foreign Minister Schallenberg advocated a constructive approach between the parties to the conflict and spoke with Foreign Minister Mirzoyan about possible solutions from Armenia's point of view. Foreign Minister Schallenberg stressed that it is in Europe's interest to contribute to stability and security in the South Caucasus. He favors the start of the EU mission in Armenia already in a few weeks and stated that Austria could support it with designated experts.

"Yerevan is only a little more than three hours by plane from Vienna. A stable and peaceful region between Russia, Turkey and Iran is important for us, not least because of this. Austria supports the EU's mediation efforts in the region and the deployment of a civilian EU mission to Armenia," said Schallenberg on Austria's position.

Russian activities in the South Caucasus were also a topic of discussion, especially against the backdrop of Russia's focus on Ukraine and its war of aggression. Also discussed in this context was the role of the Collective Security Organization (CSTO), a military alliance to which both Armenia and Russia belong.

Referring to Armenian-Turkish relations, Foreign Minister Schallenberg said Vienna was once again ready to host talks between Armenia and Turkey, as it had the previous year. In 2022, three talks on the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey were held in Vienna between February and July.

Mirzoyan visits UNOV

Mirzoyan met with Ghada Fathi Waly, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Armenia attaches great importance to expanding its cooperation with the UN system and specialized bodies, explained Mirzoyan to Waly. Additionally, the Foreign Minister explained Armenia's position regarding several regional issues to his interlocutor.

As part of the meeting, Minister Mirzoyan discussed the reforms carried out by the Armenian Government, including anti-corruption, judicial, and police reforms. As well as fighting illegal drug trafficking, organized crime, foreign mercenary fighters, and terrorism, the sides discussed the prospects for cooperation and implementing joint programs in these areas. Armenia and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime signed a Roadmap of Cooperation last year, which is of importance in this regard.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia