Issues related to Artsakh are not conditioned by political preferences. Interview of Ashot Ghoulyan to "" news agency
23 October 2018

- Mr. Ghoulyan, what has changed in relations between Armenia and Artsakh after the change of power in Armenia? If there are changes, then at which levels are they? What has changed the new Government of the Republic of Armenia in Artsakh-RA relationship?

It’s worthy to note that during the years of independence and under all governments, the collaboration between the two Armenian republics was at the proper level, which allowed us to realize all the goals of the pan Armenian agenda. For Armenians, the issues related to Artsakh are not conditioned by political preferences or party affiliation.

Today, under the Armenian new government, we have the same state of relationship, which is manifested in the form of cooperation between both high authorities and state partner structures. It couldn’t be otherwise, since in the person of the Republic of Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia, we have common homeland.

- Do you see any threat of aggravation of the domestic political situation in Artsakh, given the fact that from time to time, after some events taking place in Artsakh, the opinions are heard in Armenia that the situation will be exacerbated? Are new political forces and associations being created? In addition, are there any disagreements between the current and former state authorities?

Despite the fact of international non-recognized, Artsakh is a developing democratic country where some aspects of public and state policies may meet the dissatisfaction of a certain part of the population. It is through a public expression of an active civic position that society is able to exercise oversight over the authorities and political decision makers.

Indeed, such problems immediately come to the forefront of attention of the authorities and government reacts and works on their solution. In this context, I would like to highlight the fact that our society is very sensitive to artificial manipulations of these problems and attempts to create an excessive tension.

We should only welcome the formation of new political parties and initiative groups, especially before the upcoming elections. It is the parties, non-government organizations and media that play an important role in making the voices of different social groups heard, as well as in the participation of the development of country.

- Mr. Ghoulyan, and current authorities of Armenia, acting PM Nikol Pashinyan repeatedly announced that for the settlement of the NK problem Artsakh should be returned to the negotiation table. Firstly, what is needed for that? Are there any grounds and is it realistic that one day Artsakh will return to negotiation table, what has been changed in this direction to make it possible? 

The position of Artsakh authorities for all the past years was that no solution is possible without Artsakh’s participation. No international structure, no country can impose on us any document and any solution which will be reached without Artsakh’s participation and consent. It’s obvious that Azerbaijan in any way avoids dialogue with the elected representatives of Artsakh people, and this clearly demonstrates the fact that this country is not ready for peace or at least work in that direction.

- The Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia in Dushanbe had a short conversation with the President of Azerbaijan on the agreements reached in Saint Petersburg and Vienna. After the meeting PM Pashinyan told that they agreed to create an operational line between leaderships of Armenia and Azerbaijan. First, is there any change in the border situation, and second, did Stepanakert take any steps for joining this operational line or did you discuss such issue with Armenia?

Recently, the borderline is relatively calm; and the number of incidents has decreased. The explanation of this situation should be sought not in the good will of Azerbaijan but in the results of the large-scale work done to upgrade the frontline and to increase the combat readiness of our military. Indeed, in order to silent bullets, the sides must talk, and the more frequent the contacts between parties – the less likely a new war will be.

Official Stepanakert always supports all the initiatives aimed at decreasing tension in the borderline and strengthening stability. It’s a fact that the Artsakh side fulfills its share of commitments of maintaining ceasefire in a perfect and reliable way and I’m sure that the mediators observe this. What comes to the sub-question on the establishment of an operational line, I have no information at this point.

- Mr. Ghoulyan, is the meeting between Pashinyan and Aliyev enough to intensify the negotiation process? What do you, as the President of the Artsakh National Assembly, consider necessary for the resumption of the negotiation process?

Direct contacts between Yerevan and Baku are an important step forward the resumption of negotiations but that shouldn’t be an end in itself.  Armenian parties and mediators should be convinced that Azerbaijan shows political will for the peaceful settlement of the conflict. In the known conflicts, border tensions and threat of war ceased to be used as a tool, and Azerbaijan is the country that continues to engage in such political blackmail, especially given the fact that in our case it doesn’t work. 

The mediators, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, should work with Azerbaijan more for to at least make it clear that the restoration of the negotiation format with the participation of Artsakh will create a real basis for conflict resolution.