NA Speaker’s Answers to the Questions Raised at the Press Conference
26 December 2015

Question: R. Ishkhanyan. Today, unprecedentedly tense situation has developed on the NKR and Azerbaijan contact line, which the Ministry of Defense of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic estimated as follows – “Azerbaijan is bringing the situation to a military one”. As you know, the speech of the Armenian president on the CSTO summit in Moscow was very tough, What are the new challenges this situation poses in front of the Parliament in terms of working with the international community and the impact on the position of the international community? 

Answer: A Ghoulyan. Thank you for the question. It is evident that our press conference could not avoid such topical issues. The Parliament together with you, not only those two years but the previous years as well, at various meetings has stated that with every passing day the behavior of Azerbaijan presented more and more serious threat. I am sorry to note the fact that because of the very passive and indifferent attitude of the international community, Azerbaijan has brought the situation to such tension when events remind daily reports from the frontline.

Certainly in this situation it is very important to follow the actions undertaken by Azerbaijan in the last few years. It is obvious that Baku is unable to restrain its revanchist aspirations, and this leads to a new level of open opposition.

Armenian President's speeches at the summit of the CSTO, comments of Artsakh President to the Armenian mass media are the appropriate response to this phenomenon. This is the reaction of the sides that control the situation. In my opinion, it stems from the confidence of the Defense Army, the logic of holding the situation under control at the front line and, of course, contains the intention of Azerbaijan to deepen their claim. If we generalize what is happening on the front lines, then I think this statement is not exaggerated: Azerbaijan today has become a serious threat in terms of regional and international security.

The consequences of further deterioration of the situation from Azerbaijan concern not only Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. Today, the international community, both at the regional and global level faced a very serious threat because of the next adventurism of Azerbaijan.

 It would be wrong to distribute the work at the parliamentary level, as this is not the place for specific areas of public policy. There is undoubtedly a need for parliamentary activities with the given role of parliamentary diplomacy in the world. Realizing the importance of this work I believe that it concerns the NKR National Assembly, the Parliament of the Republic of Armenia and the legislatures of all friendly countries. External relations are established not for recording, stating and sending friendly greetings. All of this, along with the theoretical approach, should appear in practice. If not for this then all such relations are pointless.

Question: A. Danielyan. Recent geopolitical developments on the background of strained relations between Russia and Turkey are increasingly indicating that Russia wants to enter the region, Armenia and Karabakh. It is increasingly stated about the dislocation of the Russian army. I would like to know your position in this issue. Is there a need in the dislocation of Russia or other peacekeeping forces or not and what will be the consequences. 

Answer: A. Ghoulyan.Russiahas alwaysbeen presentin the region, andwe are not talkingabout somethingnew. The questionis clear.Apparentlyit is a moreactive involvementof Russia in theprocess ofconflict resolution. I think when the situation is tensed to an extremelyhigh level then proportionate response of the NKR DefenseArmy tothe measurestakenby Azerbaijan is sign of the readiness of our Army.

In the present situation our capacity is sufficient for self-defense, and for an appropriate response. Our statement that over the years the Karabakh conflict should be regarded as a successful and unique process of the implementation of its own peacekeeping mission, is appropriate, and, of course, will continue to remain so.

Another issue is that all the organizations represented today or having interests in the region, must adequately assess the situation and take effective measures to curb the excessive claims of Azerbaijan. We are talking about the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and other European structures.

I will give just one example: it is time to remind Azerbaijan of the obligations undertaken at the time of entry into the European structures.  We all remember that at the time when Azerbaijan was accepted, there were some serious doubts about how the country would correspond to the same European system of values related to human rights and democracy. However, international organizations, the international community turned a blind eye to all this just for the simple reason that Azerbaijan has undertaken to resolve the Karabakh conflict peacefully. Today, however, everyone has forgotten about this obligation and, in my opinion, if international organizations are now able to restrain more authoritative state then in the case of Azerbaijan it is simply a necessity.

Question: M.Davtyan. My question relates to the constitutional reforms. During the November press conference, President of the Republic has declared that it is impossible that one Armenian state has one control system and the other a different one. I wonder if it is time for similar discussions on constitutional reforms in Artsakh.

Answer: A.Ghoulyan. This is probably one of those issues that have to be sounded. The last few days I myself thought about how in this situation, our attitude corresponds to rumors and topics spread and unwittingly made this comparison: next year we are going to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the NKR proclamation. This is a serious anniversary not only in terms of the value date, but also in terms of the path traversed by us. Next year we are also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the adoption of our Constitution. So I will try to touch on your questions through the prism of these anniversaries.

I think there has never been a closed topic in Karabakh and we started talking about constitutional reforms only in recent months. I want to inform that even in 2013, perhaps not publicly, but we held similar consultations with the political forces at several stages. as a result we have decided that discussions should be continued in order to understand what opportunities will create the next political reality for the development of these issues. 

I would just like to make the following comparison: for the past 25 years in the NKR both the Parliamentary (until 1994) and the presidential model of public administration were tested.

 I am deeply convinced that with the issue of management models change we must always bear in mind existing public demand in our country. Of course after the results of the constitutional reforms in Armenia and especially the referendum in Karabakh talks will be even more active. At the moment I find it difficult to consider this issue as a priority on the agenda, because with the current situation the issues of security and defense are more urgent. I think in the near future, of course, in conditions adequate to the situation, we will continue these consultations in order to conduct a more specific dialogue on reforms.

Question: N. Sahakyan. Last year, Azerbaijan managed to "order" the reports to PACE bribing officials. How do you see our counter measures to the actions taken by Azerbaijan?

Answer: A. Ghoulyan. In my opinion, the situation is clear to everyone:  general background reports and resolutions submitted to the international arena regarding the Karabakh conflict are negative or unfavorable for us. The reason is not only in the oil or caviar. The past few years, especially after 2008-2010 the Azerbaijani side has headed for a new policy. Knowing that the time passes and the more we are moving away from 1988, 1991, the more difficult it will be in some way to relate the Karabakh issue with Azerbaijan. As a result, this policy of Azerbaijan focuses more on the international arena, in the parliamentary structures of different levels. If we summarize the number of Azerbaijani and Turkish delegations in Europe or any international parliamentary structures today, we get a very large number. And to counteract this work we must have, if not the same number of deputies, or human resources, at least commensurate balancing work on the other hand. It is clear that this work in its amount and quality for several years did not correspond to the efforts of Azerbaijan. As a result, due to the active lobbying work carried out over the years, Azerbaijan has to some extent changed the quality of the international structures in connection with the Karabakh issue. But I would like to stress one important fact: the work carried out by Azerbaijan in the international organizations wonderfully accompanied by gross violations of European values within Azerbaijan itself, and this cannot be considered natural. How can the parliamentary delegations of other countries operating in the European structures, knowing the developments of the situations in Azerbaijan, respond to the reports submitted by Azerbaijan? Herein lays contradiction which shows the illogic of phenomena.

A month ago, together with the heads ofparliamentary factions andcommittees, we helda specific discussionon howyou canopposeorwhat will be theactionsof the deputystaff.  We cameto the following conclusion: in January, a visit of our partnersat the NationalAssembly of Armeniais expected in Artsakh. We will try todevelop the generaltactic, whereby we hopethat the situation inthe sameinternational organizations will change to some extent.

Question: N. Sahakyan. You mentioned that the National Assembly of the 6th convocation operates on a permanent basis. The seven-month period is enough to evaluate the performance of parliaments working on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. Do you consider 5 legislative initiatives sufficient for direct parallels?

Answer: A. Ghoulyan. Of course, this is not enough, but I propose to assess the performance of parliaments working on a permanent and non-permanent basis, not only by the number of for Legislative Initiatives. The everyday work, which is performed in the standing committees and factions is extremely important. All the functions that I mentioned a little earlier, associated with the legislative work, inter-parliamentary relations, various initiatives within our society, proposals relating to the army, and so on, are formed as a result of constant discussion, debate, and sometimes at a collision of conflicting opinions. I would emphasize the fact that in the parliament of the 6th convocation there has not been a case, that the opinions were absolutely opposite and it would be impossible to bring them together. In this sense, I think, the political dialogue and pluralism allow to present more opinions in parliament.

As long as we do not make all these questions parliamentary in the National Assembly and parliament - the arena of public discussion and submission of views, it will be very difficult to take the right decisions. It would be appropriate to submit the legislative initiatives after such right decisions.

Question A. Danielyan: In the previous Parliament, all political forces were pro-government, but in the present there is also new opposition. How does the opposition facilitate the work of the parliament, and does the new parliament work more efficiently than the previous one?

Answer: A. Ghoulyan. In the previous Parliament there also was an opposition, and we had different opinions. It cannot be denied. Everything depends on the correct formulation of the work. I hope that the outcome of different policies will be more visible and obvious. It will be very difficult if we do not direct the work constructively. In this sense, the work has become more complicated as we have to deal with different opinions, but so far there were no contradicting poles. The diversity of our political opinions, perhaps, in a sense, is not fully guaranteed, as envisaged in the classic sense. For example, if all the political forces are to hold one course in the foreign policy issues, then as a result only domestic issues are left. This probably is not enough for public and visible positioning of political pluralism. However, I think this is one of our advantages. In my opinion, the more the unity in the important issues related to the future of our country, the safety of our people, the interests of the society Artsakh in the Parliament, the greater the benefits and the expected result.

Question: A. Danielyan. The number service vehicles have been reduced In the National Assembly. Please tell us, who have been given the vehicles to and at what price, as there is a prevalent opinion in the society that the cars have been privatized by the same officials at very low prices?

Answer: A. Ghoulyan. In years past, we always talked about the fact that the system of government was blown out of proportion, too centralized; there was a need to reduce the service vehicles, pursue a policy of optimization, etc. Eventually, we got to the point, when optimization is carried out, but now people are unhappy with the results, or it's perceived wrongly. On the one hand it is natural, because whatever the result, when it comes to reductions, it is a very sensitive issue. Underneath this individual human fates should be understood.

Naturally, this optimization policy could not bypass the Parliament: reduction in the number of drivers, maintaining company cars. I would like to clarify reason of not so significant redundancies in Parliament. A year ago there were only 16 deputies acting on the permanent basis. And now we have provided the work of the 33 deputies of the National Assembly with the same number of people. This means that we did not artificially increase the number to avoid such problems in the future.

Taking into account the opinion of deputies, we have reduced 4 cars, which in the established order were presented to the government for write-offs. These questions are not included into the functions of the National Assembly. It is not the body that assesses, makes donations and allocates funds.