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ARTSAKH TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY IS NOT A SUBJECT TO BE DISCUSSED
[ARM]     [RUS]     [ENG]

ARTSAKH TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY IS NOT A SUBJECT TO BE DISCUSSED

Ruzan ISHKHANYAN

Speaking about the proclamation of the Artsakh Republic and the referendum on independence, we always display political, historical, legal and moral arguments. At the same time we emphasize that on all the aforementioned grounds Azerbaijan cannot have any pretensions to Artsakh. This independence was proclaimed in an area with which Azerbaijan has no legal or historical connection. 
The Armenian sides have been voicing this on various platforms, forming an opinion with the international community that the declaration of an independent republic was based on the will of the people, so it is illogical to respond to the political will of the people by force. It is no coincidence that in the periodic statements made by the mediators it is this very thought that there is no military solution to the problem or that there is no alternative to a peaceful settlement. The conclusion is as simple as that: the solution to the problem must also come from the will of the people of Artsakh.
International law is for Artsakh

Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia Shavarsh Kocharyan touched upon the realization of our right to self-determination at the Artsakh Friends Forum. He began his speech with rhetorical questions: why has the negotiation process, which has been going on for so long with such high mediation, not reached its logical end? The co-chairing states - Russia, the United States and France - are permanent members of the UN Security Council. The second question is why the right of the Artsakh people to self-determination has turned into a bloody conflict. The only real result is the Agreement of May 12, 1994 on Military Action and the Ceasefire.
Previously, there have been direct contacts between Azerbaijan and Artsakh. The deputy foreign minister reminded that the former president of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev with his signature authorized the deputy speaker of the Majlis to meet the representative of the NKR parliament and to prepare the meeting of the heads of two states. What is important in this document? It was clearly written “NKR” in the document and in the end was the signature of the President of Azerbaijan. Therefore, it should be noted that Azerbaijan has at least accepted the NKR as a party to the conflict, besides, it has negotiated with the Karabakh party at different levels. The result was the signing of the agreement and the ceasefire.
Today, Azerbaijan avoids direct negotiations with Artsakh, pretending that there is no such entity, which means that it does not want to see any progress in the negotiations. First of all, we must record this reality. RA Deputy Foreign Minister's next emphasis was on increasing Artsakh's subjectivity in the negotiation process. No one is authorized to speak on behalf of the people of Artsakh, no one can speak on issues that are exclusively in the domain of Artsakh. It is about the status and territorial integrity of Artsakh. In relation to the status, he cited an important argument: "Even the authorities of Artsakh are constrained by a referendum with the will of the people of Artsakh."
Azerbaijan is, in fact, imitating the negotiations, aiming to mislead the international community that this is not a struggle for recognition of the right to self-determination, but merely a territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Baku was not ready for concessions, so we faced a bloody conflict. He only recognizes power, and his purpose is to resolve the conflict by force. According to Sh. Kocharyan, the response to the Artsakh Armenians' Right to Self-Determination were the barbaric acts carried out in Baku, Sumgait and other Azerbaijani cities. Later, the world became aware of an Armenian officer who was killed with an ax by an Azerbaijani hand while sleeping. The logical continuation of this was the April military aggression, during which atrocities were characteristic of the extremist Islamist terrorist groups.
Today official Baku speaks only about territorial integrity, ignoring the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination. However, international law does not allow territorial integrity to conflict with the right to self-determination. Deputy Foreign Minister cites Kosovo's example: Serbia has appealed to the international court over whether Kosovo could unilaterally declare its independence. The verdict of the International Court was unequivocal: Yes, because for self-determination people should not ask anyone for permission. He also recalled the 8th principle of the Helsinki Final Act, in which the right to self-determination is quite clear. the people always, at their own discretion, have the right to self-determination.
The international law is entirely for the people of Artsakh, so promoting the sovereignty of the Republic of Artsakh should be the number one duty of Artsakh's friends.


Artsakh also supports conscience and justice

After welcoming the participants on behalf of the Russian friends of the Armenian people, Russian State Duma member Konstantin Zatulin spoke about the people's struggle for independence. He pointed out that people, peoples and states, in the pursuit of their goals and for the sake of their development, have to overcome great obstacles. Having been in Artsakh many times, as well as in the conflict zones of the post-Soviet space and in the European region, he has been of the opinion that Artsakh has achieved great achievements in peaceful life. And everyone who visits Artsakh, first of all, is impressed by this, knowing that this nation has suffered many casualties, has gone through suffering.
When the ancestors of Artsakh erected Gandzasar and Dadivank, Amaras and other magnificent monuments, which are monuments of Armenian and world culture, no one demanded to recognize this people living on their own land and capable of great deeds.
Before presenting his personal opinion on the Artsakh issue, Zatulin stressed that it would be dishonest to say that everyone in Russia, including officials, shares it. However, he was convinced that everyone was looking forward to the hope that common sense and goodwill would eventually lead to peace and recognition.
Artsakh will not lose its achievements, its statehood and the right to self-determination. Speaking about Russia's official position, Zatulin said that his country, as a mediator involved in the peaceful settlement of the conflict, has relations with both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Relations with Armenia, however, are qualitatively deeper, as both are in the Eurasian Economic Union. More importantly, Russia and Armenia are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Although Azerbaijan is involved in the processes taking place within the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States),
Referring to the April 2016 war, Zatulin emphasized that it could not be included in the plans of the world's kind people, including Russia. Russia did everything in its power to put an end to this outbreak as quickly as possible. Now, the Russian side considers the peaceful settlement of the conflict a priority. The decisions that must be made as a result of the negotiations, he thinks, are obvious. The settlement must be based on the common sense of the parties to the conflict.
Zatulin then referred to the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by the Russian Federation, as well as the inclusion of the Crimean Republic into Russia. According to him, there is a rather complicated dialogue with Ukraine. Events in the eastern part of the country leave no room for indifference.
The State Duma deputy assured that Russia, as a state, will not allow an unfair solution to the Artsakh problem. Whatever are the authorities in Russia, whoever is the President or Prime Minister in Russia, nothing will change. The Russian people base everything on conscience and justice. They are also for the people of Artsakh.