The interview of the President of the Artsakh Republic National Assembly Ashot Ghoulyan to the “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” Daily
1. How do you evaluate the possibility of a new war by Azerbaijan in the context of existing military-political situation?Are there any political levers to prevent it?
We always should consider that in face of Azerbaijan we deal with an unpredictable subject. This makes us not to lose our vigilance including in the situation of sudden resumption of war.
Azerbaijan has never concealed the desire to solve the problem by military means. The regular violations of ceasefire agreement, attempts of subversive penetrations, and refusal from high-level agreements on the installation of the mechanisms to reduce tensions on the border only affirms the revanchist aspirations of Azerbaijan’s administration.
After April 2016 we respond to the situation more comprehensively. Since then we have strengthened the border, technically equip our defensive positions. However, security is not just our responsibility. If we talk about the political levers of stability and peace in the region and the prevention of war, it first of all refers to the mediators, in the person of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and member states.
2. How do you evaluate the possibility of Artsakh's reengagement in the negotiations under the existing military-political situation in the region?
The presence of Artsakh in the negotiation process is solely in the interests of a peaceful and fair settlement of the conflict. This has been highlighted for many years in our foreign policy priorities to justify the position of the country's authorities on the need to restore the full format of negotiations within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group.
The fact that in the 1990s, when Artsakh was directly participating in the negotiations, we had concrete results in the form of basic documents on the establishment of ceasefire and its strengthening, already confirms the position that the process will always be prolonged if the main side of the conflict, Artsakh, is out of talks. If that's not enough, please see want we have now: today the mediators are not able to secure necessary conditions for the resumption of negotiations, and it already speaks that the current format does not satisfy the need for effective settlement.
Nevertheless, if not all the sides of the conflict are aware of this simple reality at the moment, it does not mean that the Armenian side should stop circulating the topic of Artsakh’s participation. The conflict can only be solved only if the solution meets the expectations of Artsakh people.
3. What response do to the political developments in the Republic of Armenia find in Artsakh?
The society in Artsakh unequivocally welcomes the steps taken by the Armenian authorities to strengthen the rule of law and fight against negative phenomena.
During the years of independence the integration between Artsakh and Mother Armenia has reached to the level, when the events taking place in the Republic of Armenia find their direct reaction in Artsakh and vice versa.
In this context, however, it is impossible to ignore that under the current realities, Artsakh's society is more cautious in matters of internal stability and security. The events of June and the following two months have shown how sensitive the public is to the attempts to aggravate the domestic political situation. At the same time, the prevailing public opinion is that Artsakh has a constitutional culture and any political process should fit into that logic.
4. The recent political developments in Artsakh have been followed by the initiative of creating a Public Council. In your opinion, what will give the formation of this new structure to Artsakh?
The idea of creating Public Council appeared during the recent internal political events that showed that today's political field does not reflect the interests of all the strata of society.
Taking into account the need to keep the spotlight on the issues of public concern and the need to systematically address them, regular consultations are held between the authorities and the members of the initiative group regarding the legal regulation and further work of the Public Council.
At this point it’s hard to speak of the effectiveness of such a structure because the professionalism and willingness of the people involved will play a central role. Nonetheless, it will be another step towards the democratic principle of public involvement.
5. Please, give a brief overview of the work done by the Parliament for the expansion of external relations. How effective is the potential of parliamentary diplomacy used in Artsakh?
We have very little opportunities in terms of contacts with outside due to today's status of the Artsakh Republic. Parliamentary diplomacy is, perhaps, the most effective mechanism that enables us to make the situation on ground as well as our views accessible for the outside world, especially for the political and public circles. A number of friendship groups are functioning in the National Assembly with the European Parliament and the Flemish Parliament; and circles of friendship - with France, Lithuania and representatives of the French-speaking community in Belgium. The work in this direction will continue actively during the next sessions. There are new initiatives, the implementation of which is a matter of time.
6. On September 2, Artsakh marks the 27th anniversary of the Republic. What role and significance does the holiday have in the life of Artsakh people?
If proclamation of an independent republic in 1991 was a vital condition for self-preservation, today it is an inseparable part of the identity of the new generation of Artsakh.
In order to guarantee our right to live, to properly organize the defense and ensure the success of our movement for reunification with the Motherland Armenia, we went through the proclamation of the second Armenian republic by meeting all the requirements set out in international law.
During the past 27 years, we have managed to develop Artsakh and make it a pan-national value, a value for each and every Armenian.