Nothing To Hide From OSCE Minsk Group


Azat Artsakh – Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR)
17 Feb 05

Quite recently the fact-finding mission of the OSCE Minsk Group
finished their activity in the liberated territories controlled
by NKR. What attitude do the NKR authorities have towards this
question? We asked NKR President Arkady Ghukassian to answer
to this and several other questions which he willingly commented
on. Mr. President, your address on December 16 evoked wide response
both in Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia. In the mentioned address
you emphasized the principle of structural reforms in NKR. You also
mentioned the imperative of struggle against corruption, permissiveness
and rehabilitating the moral and psychological atmosphere in the
republic. Is the situation in Artsakh that disturbing? â~@~S Life does
not stop. The Republic of Nagorni Karabakh which by the will of its
people declared the principles of modern civil society as a basis for
its development cannot do without democratic reforms. We simply have
to prove to the world every hour and every day even by trial and error
method that we have the right for having our own independent state
which essentially prevails over Azerbaijan by its rates of social,
economic and cultural development and the level of correspondence to
the standards of the European community. Otherwise the world will not
understand the fact of our self-determination and will not recognize
the independence of NKR. Of course, corruption and other negative
social phenomena in Nagorni Karabakh cannot in any way be compared to
the similar phenomena existing in the Azerbaijani reality. However,
this cannot become a reason for self-comforting. We think that such
phenomena must be excluded in Nagorni Karabakh at all. Although
these cannot be uprooted in a short period of time. In the period
of transition to liberal economy and civil society such phenomena
may objectively rise independent of our will. Our task is to reduce
their influence on the society to a minimum degree. We are aware
that peopleâ~@~Ys confidence in their authorities depends on this,
which is directly connected with the security of the country. For
us the healthy moral and psychological atmosphere is a political
category. â~@~S Perhaps, â~@~shade economyâ~@~], why not also
the model of clan-oligarchy economy is typical of all the CIS
countries. Are these characteristic of NKR too? Would you please
describe the present situation of economic development of NKR and
particularly the process of investments? â~@~S It is doubtless that the
clan-oligarchy model which you mentioned detaches people, aggravates
social stratification, increases tension within the society, which we
try to avoid by all means. This model, as a rule, emerges when the law
does not work in the country. Therefore we take measures to promote
law and order in the country. Although, if take into consideration the
size of NKR and the number of the population it is impossible to speak
seriously about the existence of this model in our country. At the same
time, in my address on December 16 I emphasized that the government
will not allow clans in economic management and state governance. As
to â~@~shade economyâ~@~], I think it can be eliminated through
improvement of tax policy and shifting the economy to a liberal field
of activity. In this direction we have had considerable progress. It
will not be an exaggeration to say that the tax legislation in NKR
is the most attractive in the entire South Caucasus. Thus, in the
recent years foreign investments totaling several tens of million
dollars have been made in the economy of Artsakh. Owing to the foreign
investments mainly made by our compatriots living abroad we managed
to update the process of production in several pivotal branches of
the NKR economy and reduce unemployment. The government pays special
attention to small business. The sums provided for the support and
development of small business were increased in the State Budget 2005.
Presently in one trimester as much production is produced as during the
whole year of 1999. This and other indices allow us to solve social
problems more effectively, which is a strategic political line of
our government. â~@~S Mr. Ghukassian, the geopolitical situation
around NKR is becoming increasingly threatening. How would you
describe the present situation of negotiations for the resolution
of the NKR issue, and is there hope that NKR will again receive the
status of a full-right party in the negotiations? â~@~S I would not
like to exaggerate although I understand the anxieties of the Armenian
society for the situation around the Karabakh settlement. I have not
once stated that it is impossible to achieve a solution without the
full-right participation of the Karabakh side in the negotiations. I
think that the international observers in the face of the OSCE Minsk
Group co-chairmen also have the same opinion. History has shown a great
many times that the solution of the problem of a country or a people
will not produce good results unless the representatives of the given
country or people are involved in it. The temporary political dividends
of this or that side are not taken into account. I am sure that sooner
or later Karabakh will again be represented in the negotiations, and
what is more, on an equal right basis. Of course, if Azerbaijan and the
international mediators really tend to settle the Karabakh problem in a
peaceful way, through reasonable compromise. There is no alternative
to this. â~@~S It is known that the NKR authorities have recently
undertaken drafting and adopting of the Constitution of the country.
Why is the adoption of the NKR Constitution important especially in
this stage? â~@~S The project of the NKR Constitution is still being
worked out and I cannot even tell the approximate time when it will
be adopted. By the way, the idea of adopting the Constitution of
the Republic of Nagorni Karabakh did not occur today. The necessity
of passing the NKR Constitution was fixed in my election programs
in 1997 and 2002. It is another question why we undertook drafting
the Constitution especially now. In this reference I want to remind
that NKR is not yet recognized, and the conflict with Azerbaijan is
not solved. As the approach of NKR was always constructive for the
peaceful settlement of the conflict, we tended to abstain from steps
which might increase tension in the negotiations. By acting this way
we expected a similar response from Baku. However, our expectations
did not come true. Moreover, the Baku authorities refused at all
to enter in dialogue with us, including dialogue on such pivotal
matters as the status of NK. Later the top officials of Azerbaijan
announced that they do not intend to make any compromise in the
question of Karabakh. However, we cannot give up state building and
wait forever till the Azerbaijani authorities decide to start dialogue
with us. All these circumstances dictated the necessity of drafting the
NKR Constitution as a regular step on the way of building a legitimate
democratic state. The NKR Constitution will set milestones marking
the main directions of development of our state and society. â~@~S Mr.
President, the recent statements of the assistant to the US Secretary
of the State Department Elizabeth Jones was mainly criticized by the
society of RA. It is strange. The US government provides financial
means to NKR every year, but time to time this or that American
official makes an abrupt anti-Karabakh statement. How would you
explain this controversy? â~@~S In my recent interview to the Russian
news agency â~@~Regnumâ~@~] I answered a similar question. I cannot
add anything new. I think that the artificial isolation of Nagorni
Karabakh from the negotiations and discussions of the Karabakh issue in
different international organizations supposes occasional appearance
of wording in documents of those organizations, which do not satisfy
us. Therefore NKR must achieve its full-right participation in the
peaceful process. â~@~S What is your attitude towards the latest
visit of the OSCE fact-finding group to NKR? â~@~S We have always been
interested in the visits of representatives of different international
organizations to NKR. We have nothing to hide from them. Let them get
acquainted with the situation on the spot in order to eliminate the
slander of Azerbaijan. The NKR government tried its best to provide
all the necessary conditions for the effective work of the OSCE
delegates. We hope that the report to be presented by the special
committee which visited NKR will be the due reflection of the real
situation in the territories controlled by the NKR authorities. It is
also a positive fact that the OSCE representatives met with refugees,
came in touch with them. Thus, if the international community used
to speak only about the Azerbaijani refugees, now they will have to
take into account the fact of existence of the Armenian refugees. The
latter circumstance may even become more urgent in the process of

â~@~YERORD UZHâ~@~] WEEKLY. 17-02-2005


From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress