Urges Inclusion in OSCE Minsk Group Peace Talks
STEPANAKERT—“We want the international community to focus their attention on Artsakh… and are applying to the international community to become a full member.” These are the sentiments expressed by the President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic on Thursday as he held an extensive press conference, where he discussed developments since April 1 when Azerbaijan unleashed a massive attack on Artsakh.
“We want the international community to focus their attention on Artsakh not only in a time of war and military operations. We have chosen this path, this path of building our own independent destiny in accordance with democratic principles and are expressing a wish and applying to the international community to be a full member,” Sahakian told the press conference.
Sahakian also demanded that from the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen and the international community to return to the negotiating table as a full-fledged party to the conflict, saying any decision without Artsakh participation would be incomplete.
“If we do not revise our approach to the negotiation process, any decision will be incomplete. According to the Budapest Summit of 1994, Nagorno Karabakh is a party to the conflict, and that decision is still valid. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on this demand, as its consequences are evident, and the latest developments serve as a basis for the international community to return to the full format of negotiations,” explained Sahakian.
He emphasized that the conflict is not between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but rather between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, arguing that Armenia was pulled into the conflict “artificially,” adding that while Armenia fully represents Artsakh’s interests in the talks and is its security guarantor, nevertheless, Karabakh should be a party to the talks.
“The nature of the conflict is such that our demand to return to the negotiating table stems from logical positions. There are no conflicts in the world where solutions are found without the key player,”Sahakian stressed.
While Sahakian was grateful for the role the OSCE Minsk Group has played from the time of the cease fire to the present, he said that was not enough.
“In addition to expressing gratitude, I have also expressed dissatisfaction during each meeting [with the co-chairmen] that it is impossible to reach a final solution based on an imprecise format. And today we hold the position that any initiative and proposal without the official participation of Nagorno Karabakh cannot be comprehensive and fully enacted,” Sahakian said.
He blamed Azerbaijan’s “hysteria” for a skewed view of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which he described as a “liberation movement.”
“We are fighting not for territories, but for our native homeland. Our mission is not only to defend the physical security of the people of Artsakh. Our struggle is for our national dignity. We are the forebears of this fight, which is a unique mission. We will continue to advance this mission with the same resolve, by putting our homeland first above all else,” said Sahakian who was speaking to an audience that included a quite a few international reporters who are in Artsakh covering the latest developments.
Sahakian said that all Armenians are united in one cause in this national liberation movement, and added, “We do not differentiate between our brothers and sisters from Armenia, the Diaspora or Artsakh. We are one entity, and we will continue building our life with this sense and perception and will achieve great victories.”
He said thanks to the Artsakh liberation war, the Armenians of Artsakh were able to get rid of the yoke of foreign rule, reshaping their lives and building a state based on exceptionally democratic values.
He also turned his attention to the events of late April 1 and early April 2, when Azerbaijan began its indiscriminate and large-scale attack on all front of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
“I gave the order to the commander of the Defense Army, lieutenant-general Levon Mnatsakanyan to, instead of organizing resistance, take measures to stop the enemy’s actions, with the aim of identifying and destroying its manpower and equipment. The order was carried out by the heroic soldiers of the Artsakh army, officers, and volunteers from Armenia and Armenians from around the world,” explained Sahakian who praised Mnatsakanyan for his military leadership.