Nagornyy Karabakh Republic [NKR], Arkadiy Gukasyan,leader says
Armenia not to make concessions on Karabakh
Noyan Tapan news agency
21 Apr 05
Yerevan, 21 April: Since Azerbaijan is not talking about concessions,
Armenia should not make them, the president of the Nagornyy Karabakh
Republic [NKR], Arkadiy Gukasyan, has told journalists. He regarded
it pointless to talk about mutual concessions as long as Azerbaijan
did not display a constructive approach to this issue. Azerbaijan
thinks that the international community should give Karabakh to
Azerbaijan on a silver tray. Now that there is no Soviet Union,
there are the NKR and the Azerbaijani Republic. The situation has
changed and Azerbaijan should reconcile itself to this.
The security of Karabakh reduces to the resolution of the status
issue. Security cannot be ensured without the resolution of the
status issue. “We repeatedly stated that we support the package
option for the resolution of the issue, i.e. all issues should be
tackled simultaneously and the most important problem is the status
issue. If the status issue is not resolved, it is very difficult for
me to imagine the security situation,” the NKR president said.
He also said that the problem could not be resolved without the
involvement of Karabakh. “If Azerbaijan is against Karabakh’s
involvement, it means that it is not interested in the settlement
of the conflict,” Gukasyan said. He did not agree that the Armenian
authorities had softened their position on the Karabakh issue. “I
reckon that this issue will be definitely resolved by the Armenian and
Karabakh people.” As for the Armenian authorities, their position is
not a defeatist one today either. They want to be more constructive
than the Azerbaijani authorities.
Speaking about Azerbaijani troops advancing on the contact line,
Gukasyan pointed out that this had always been happening. But this
is dangerous because it contains a threat in itself. He said that
the Karabakh authorities had asked the co-chairmen of the OSCE
Minsk Group to clearly fix the contact line and strictly condemn
the violators. Gukasyan recalled that back during the war, when the
Armenian side had no planes and Azerbaijanis bombed Armenian villages,
they also appealed to the co-chairmen. However, the latter only called
on the two sides to refrain from bombing each other’s territories. He
noted that at least this time equalization should be avoided.
Gukasyan also denied rumours that there had been 30-40 casualties on
the Armenian side over the last two months. He said that there were
unfortunately casualties but no more than one or two people in a month.
“I am regarding it our duty to conduct exemplary elections since
this will convince the international community that Karabakh can be
independent,” the NKR president said.
Asked whether [Nagornyy Karabakh’s former Defence Minister] Samvel
Babayan would run in the parliamentary election, he said that he did
not see any problem for that. He expressed his confidence that the most
legitimate elections in the former Soviet Union were held in Karabakh,
be it presidential, parliamentary or local government elections.
“The [latest] presidential elections had been held at a very high
level. If parliamentary elections [due on 19 June] are held at the
same level, then everything will be normal,” the NKR president said.
Gukasyan, who has been the Karabakh president for 10 years, said that
he was not going to move to Armenia and would stay in Karabakh.
“If we settle our relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan, we will
find answers to all pressing problems and it will be easy for us to
resolve the Karabakh problem. We lack confidence in each other the
most, which prevents us from finding a political solution. Since we
will always remain neighbours with Turkey and Azerbaijan, it would
be natural for us to understand each other,” Gukasyan said.