BAKU: Azerbaijani MP Backs People’S Diplomacy On Karabakh

Dec 8 2011

News.Az interviews Nizami Jafarov, an MP from the ruling New Azerbaijan
Party and chairman of parliament’s culture committee.

What role can culture play in the restoration of dialogue between
the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Karabakh, which has been
a recent topic of political discussion?

There are two viewpoints in the Azerbaijani community on the
organization of contacts between the Azerbaijani and Armenian
communities of Karabakh. The first view is that the Azerbaijani
side agrees to take part in people’s diplomacy until to the conflict
settlement, while the second view opposes this. They say that people’s
diplomacy does not always bring effective results in resolution
of conflicts.

The opponents of this diplomacy also say while talking to Azerbaijanis
the Armenians complain about their leaders, accuse them of instigating
the Karabakh conflict, while in reality they themselves work against
Azerbaijan. The politicians of Armenia hold the same position –
while talking to sociopolitical figures of Azerbaijan, including me,
they say that the conflict solution does not depend on them but on
the superpowers.

The supporters of the first position, in turn, believe that dialogue
between communities can play a positive role in achieving a Karabakh
settlement. I also hold this view. Therefore, I believe that there is
a need for meetings between the representatives of the two communities
of Karabakh.

Is the Azerbaijani side ready to hold inter-community meetings and
use people’s diplomacy for the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh

The Armenian side uses people’s diplomacy for its mercantile goals, but
it should be taken into account that representatives of Azerbaijani
intellectuals and culture have gained experience over the recent
period, they are already more informed about the real intentions
of the Armenian side and, therefore, they will not be deceived by
the false statements of their Armenian countrymen. In other words,
representatives of the intelligentsia and cultural figures studied
the psychology of the Armenian side and became aware that Armenian
politicians and ideologists are painfully cunning.

What category of people do you think show the biggest interest in
dialogue between Azerbaijanis and Armenians?

The initiatives of the intelligentsia among the Azerbaijani community
of Karabakh are obvious. These attempts should be welcomed. For
example, the initiatives may include the meeting of famous cultural
figures – Azerbaijan’s current ambassador to Russia Polad Bulbuloglu
met representatives of the Armenian intelligentsia – and the trip
to Nagorno-Karabakh.

Do you believe that inter-community dialogue and people’s diplomacy
can facilitate resolution of the Karabakh conflict?

People’s diplomacy gives a positive result in the Karabakh settlement
process. Therefore, the Azerbaijani side should at least not avoid
meetings with the Armenian side, especially since Azerbaijan is
already a strong state and is familiar with the opportunistic interests
of Armenia.

Anyway, the Azerbaijani side should also handle the historic mission to
settle the problem of the country’s territorial integrity peacefully,
especially since the meetings between the intelligentsia and cultural
figures of Azerbaijan and Armenia have produced positive results, since
at least these meetings create awareness in the Armenian community
that Azerbaijan will never give up its native land and will fight
for its liberation.

What can be the role of inter-community dialogue in establishing ties
between the communities of Karabakh after peace has been achieved?

Armenia committed a big state crime occupying part of the territory
of Azerbaijan, while ordinary residents of Armenia play a role
in this crime. Therefore, there are no doubts that the citizens
of Azerbaijan, even after the liberation of the occupied lands and
creation of relations will not forget the Khojaly genocide. Therefore,
I believe that the meetings of representatives of the intelligentsia
and cultural figures of Azerbaijan and Armenia will also soften the
possible future aggression that will continue between the parties
for a definite period.

The religious leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia have proposed the
initiative of holding meetings. Can these meetings help promote a
Karabakh settlement?

Such meetings, even if they do not promote a Karabakh conflict
settlement, will at least create a climate for the holding of meetings
between Azerbaijanis and Armenians, create normal human relations
between them. The realities of the modern world are that communication
should not be neglected, even if it may turn out to be not as useful
as expected, or even harmful.

But given the fact that religion plays a serious role in world
processes, its capacities should be used to attain peace. However,
it should be taken into account that the Armenian Church played a
special role in the occupation of Azerbaijani land. The role of the
Armenian Church in the occupation of Azerbaijani land was stronger
than the role of the Armenian leaders.

Though the religious figures of Azerbaijan, and the Islamic part of
the Caucasus overall, could not play that role. While the Catholicos of
the Armenian Church was politicized, the representatives of Islam were,
on the contrary, not politicized. Be that as it may, the participation
of religious figures in dialogue is an important factor in attaining
peace in the Karabakh settlement.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS