STEPANAKERT—In an interview with the Iranian “Shargh” daily newspaper, Artsakh Foreign Minister Masis Mayilian praised Iran’s balanced position on the Karabakh conflict and expressed hope that one day the common border shared by Iran and Artsakh can be opened.
“The fact that Iran acted as a mediator in this conflict in the first half of 1992 is a testament to the fact that the country is interested in maintaining peace in the region. This is further supported by Tehran’s willingness to again take up a mediating role in the settlement process,” said Mayilian.
He voiced regret that the border between Artsakh and Iran remains closed and pledged his country’s willingness to have open borders and good-neighborly relations with all countries in the region. “I think will be in the best interests of all stakeholders in the region,” he said.
Speaking of his experience as Foreign Minister of an unrecognized country, Mayilian said the country, which proclaimed independence in 1991, has all the features of state, primarily aimed at creating conditions conducive to secure development.
He added that while there is not international recognition of Artsakh, the republic is “an important military-political factor in the region,” saying the efforts to attain that recognition were already underway.
Asked about the possibility of “giving away certain territories” in case of signing a deal with Baku, Mayilian said, “Our current state borders do not exceed those of historic Artsakh. Furthermore, some territories of the Artsakh Republic, including the Shahumyan region, parts of Martakert and Martuni, which form 15 percent of the republic, are still under Azerbaijani occupation.”
“The areas under Artsakh jurisdiction are secured by the Artsakh Republic Constitution adopted by a popular referendum, which expresses the will of our people,” he added.
Speaking about the negotiations under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group, the Foreign Minister said “today there is no negotiation process in its classical sense. Since 1997 the mediators have been using shuttle diplomacy to work with parties to ensure consensus on certain issues, which will form the basis for continuing the talks.”
Minister Mayilian said the war unleashed by Azerbaijan in 2016 was a blow to the peace process, which further postponed the prospects of reaching a final solution to the conflict.
“The main objective today is to reinforce peace and stability in the region, and this is what the mediating efforts are targeted at,” he said.
The Foreign Minister said Artsakh is interested in the soonest settlement of the issue” and believes that it will allow to ensure stability and prosperity for all peoples in the region.