Mountainous Karabagh Republic today marks the anniversary of its independence referendum: On December 10–1991–through a referendum–the people of Artsakh– made their choice to live independently and democratically
Even with an ongoing war–under a blockade–and with daily shelling–the people of Artsakh made a decision based on democratic values–unlike Azerbaijan who declared its independence through its government.
In the 11 years that followed the referendum–the people of Artsakh remained committed to its choice–defending independence with weapons and showing its determination to build a democratic society.
Today it is beyond unnatural to think it possible to place a democratic republic–that fought for its independence–under undemocratic Azerbaijan–apt to oppress this independence. Any such approach–any attempt to regulate the conflict by reducing the rights of the people of Artsakh (no matter who makes such a suggestion or what the motives of such a suggestion are) would be a slap in the faces of both right to self-determination and democratic principles.
The international community–the parties interested in the peaceful regulation of the conflict–and the Azerbaijani leadership–should first of all finally realize that this is not a mere territorial dispute; this problem has deeper roots in civilization. The more Azerbaijan is determined to re-conquer the territory that belonged to it for a period of time–the more the determination of the people of Artsakh to defend its basic right to live in an independent and democratic state.