Saturday, July 07, 2007


Naira Hayrumyan

06-07-2007 11:18:33

The situation regarding the Karabakh settlement is so serious that it must become an issue of public debates, especially in the pre-election period.

The settlement has undergone important changes over the past few months.

First, the issues discussed in the talks were revealed. The mediators propose that we return all the seven territories surrounding Karabakh, return the Azerbaijani refugees, deploy international force at the border to provide security, and hold a referendum among Karabakh Armenians and Azerbaijanis on the status of Karabakh after an indefinite period.

First Baku criticized this plan because they said it means losing Karabakh.

Azerbaijan rejected relations with Karabakhis for a long time, with both government officials and reporters. An anti-Armenian hysteria was raging there, and the Armenian government built its policy on this: co-existence is impossible since they are reluctant to even talk to us.

Suddenly, however, something changed. A group of Azerbaijani activists led by a notorious armenophobe Polad Byul-Byul oghli arrived in Karabakh. In addition, they did not arrive via Yerevan but crossed the Karabakh-Azerbaijani border, part of which was specially demined for this purpose. Statements by the public and political activists of Azerbaijan followed, including the minister of foreign affairs. Everyone who has access to the Internet knows what they are now talking. They say the visit to Karabakh was highly useful and the people of Karabakh are their citizens and they need to be friendly. At the same time, President Aliyev states that the liberation of Karabakh is close.

The visit of the Azerbaijani delegation to Karabakh was somehow unnoticed in Karabakh. Either everyone is preoccupied with the election or it was so unexpected that nobody knew how to react. Some people say they are Azerbaijans, they arrived, so what? They are not the first. It is true that they are not the first but it is a special visit, it indicates a change in the political stance of Baku. And it should be evaluated how favorable this new stance is for us.

It is obvious that the new tendencies in the settlement are not in our interests. They offer us to exchange real sovereignty with recognition of the indefinite status of Karabakh. What is Karabakh, the former Autonomous Region of Nagorno-Karabakh plus Shahumyan or NKR with its present borders?

It is a very important issue. If we mean the recognition of independence of the former NKAR, it is not in our interests. And it is not a matter of pseudo-patriotism or nation's honor. It is a matter of basic conditions for life. How do the people of Karabakh imagine life in the conditions they are offered?

We should not reassure ourselves that someone "over there" thinks for us. The people are "over there" are also humans, they can be good and they can be bad. And they surely do not know the people's thoughts. I am not fond of demonization of government and I do not think all the leaders are bad. But a leader must fulfill the will of the people who elected him. He is not a lord but organizer of public life. Therefore, it is necessary to ask both the government and the presidential candidates about their stance on the proposals for the settlement.

Settlement is not an end in itself. If the settlement is worse than our present state, we need no settlement. We do not want war and we understand that the status quo and blockade affect our life. But if the change of the status quo makes our life worse and threatens our physical security, we need to think in what direction the talks should be carried on.

It is not a shame to defend one's interests. On the contrary, it is how the things should be. Especially if our interests match the interests of the society. Therefore, we need to work out a distinct policy on settlement. All the other issues derive from it. Pensions, demography, building may become meaningless in case the talks are not favorable for us.

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