LOS ANGELES–Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Arkady Ghoukassian addressed the Los Angeles World Affairs Council Monday evening and discussed the machinations of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict–stressing Azerbaijan’s non-constructive role in the peace process and regional stability issues.
Ghoukassian spoke to the more than 700 who had gathered at the Grand Biltmore Hotel in Armenia–with English translations provided to the audience.
In outlining the history of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict–Ghoukassian emphasized that the conflict–as it is known today–began as a peaceful demand for protection of fundamental rights of the Armenia’s of Karabakh.
He explained that while Armenia’s petitioned the then Soviet government for self-determination and through peaceful protests made their voices heard throughout the world–Azerbaijan embarked on a campaign of terror and began massacring Armenia’s living in Azerbaijan.
Ghoukassian said that the international community continuously remained silent on these mass violations of human rights. The Azeri actions forced Armenia’s in Karabakh to bear arms and protect their territory from attack.
In discussing the current status of the conflict resolution process–Ghoukassian emphasized the latest peace proposal introduced by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe–which calls for the establishment of a common state between Karabakh and Azerbaijan.
Ghoukassian said that either the international community would support that proposal or the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic should be recognized.
Ghoukassian also proclaimed that Nagorno-Karabakh Army is the only security guarantee in the region–since Azerbaijan has violated all treaties for conventional forces and has amassed military equipment. He also stressed that Turkey has–and is–arming Azerbaijan.
In conclusion Ghoukassian discussed the oil issue. He stressed that in the opinion of the Karabakh leadership the Caspian oil should become a stabilizing factor in the region. However–he stressed–Azerbaijan was utilizing the oil in a negative manner–by utilizing capital for that venture to build up its armed forces.
Ghoukassian declared that Azerbaijan was much more active in the peace process prior to Western investment in its oil reserves–which the Karabakh president said–are not yielding the necessary results.
On Tuesday morning–Ghoukassian and his entourage which includes the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Foreign Minister Naira Melkoumian and deputy presidential chief of staff Suren Grigorian met with the leaders of community organizations during a breakfast at the Verdugo Hills Country Club in Glendale.
After a brief presentation–Ghoukassian entertained questions from the attendees and created a forum for discussion and dialogue.
Ghoukassian and the Karabakh leadership will be honored Wednesday evening at a banquet at the Universal Sheraton Hotel in Universal City.