Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: the American Keys
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Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: the American Keys
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Author: Nzhdeh Hovsepyan Published by: “People” daily paper, 2014 May 14-20, Armenia. Stable URL(s): (Armenian) Part Part Part Part
1: http://armlur.am/173484/ 2: http://armlur.am/174159/ 3: http://armlur.am/176374/ 4: http://armlur.am/176615/
Brief summary This analytical article was published in “People” daily paper in 14-17 May 2014. The review is related to the 20th anniversary of the cease-fire signed between Armenia, NagornoKarabakh (NK) and Azerbaijan in 1994. US Co-chair of OSCE Minsk Group, the main mediation body in negotiations for the dispute, James Warlick declared the “Basic Principles” which are also known as “Madrid document”. This is the main negotiable document on the discussion table at present. Indeed, it is also the first time when the details of top level talks and the basic principles of the final treaty are officially announced. The only public discussion on NK conflict was held 16 years ago. Then, no other details had ever been officially acknowledged concerning this conflict. Bellow we will discuss the 6 principles which were unveiled by aforementioned American official. According to him and to the Moscow declaration (2.10.2008) these principles are the cardinal directions and host ways to solve the conflict peacefully. Moreover, we are discussing the international community’s outlook on the mechanism of deciding the status of Nagorno-Karabakh below. Finally, what are the roots of this issue and what kind of development it had during last 20 years? Please, take into account that the article was originally composed particularly for Armenian audience and should be considered in the context of Armenian political conjuncture. YEREVAN – 2014
Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: the American Keys _______
By Nzhdeh Hovsepyan _______ Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan signed a cease-fire agreement in May 1994. Due to this protocol mass violence had ended but the political dispute remained unsolved1. It is the 20th anniversary of this cease-fire. Even though the negotiations have still continued towards final settlement for decades, both political local and international circles are obviously skeptical about the possible and fast covenant. Unfortunately, each passing year moves the participants to the possibility of the war. Parallel with this subject, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh have to think about the situation carefully, revise their possessions so as to comprehend at which point they are at present in contrast with previous years. It is mentionable, against the background of Ukrainian events the NK conflict seems to be restated and become more critical within international affairs lately. The main presage was made by the US Co-chair of OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick, who evidently published the “Basic Principles” which are also known as “Madrid document”2, the main negotiable document on the discussion table now. In essence it is the first time when the official figure who is also gobetween in the conflict negotiations disseminated the details of top level talks and the basic principles of the final treaty. During the history of NagornoKarabakh conflict the only real public discussion was held in 1997-98 when the President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrossian lied open to the public the details of Page 2 of 17
the negotiations and suggested oversized discussions which would lead to the closing concord and solve the problem correspondingly. It is well-known fact that the discussions were finished unsuccessfully and the President had to resign giving an appropriate chance to his opposition to go on with negotiations and get profitable settlement for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. In his resignation announcement President affirmed: “The well-known bodies of power demanded my resignation. Taking into consideration the fact that the fulfillment of the president’s constitutional authorities is fraught with a real danger of destabilization of the country under the current situation, I accept that demand and announce my resignation… Time will show who did what for Artsakh and who is indeed selling it out. Nothing extraordinary happened. Simply, the party of peace and decent accord has lost3”. After these events new Armenian authorities had never acknowledged single detail concerning the conflict with the explanation of their behavior that any discussion would lead to deadlock. Current President of Armenia Serge Sargssian advised the journalists and other concerned citizens look for “Madrid proposal” on the Internet in 2008. Nevertheless, nobody was able to find any relevant information about it until 2009, when TerPetrossian as an opposition leader presented his thoughts on these principles4 and ultimately Warlick uttered the declaration in 2014, which is being discussed at the present time. Interestingly, at the present moment we can be sure that the international community is publishing the principles which were even signed by the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Moscow in 20085. This authentic document exemplifies that there is an agreement between presidents on “Basic principles” which will be the main component for the big settlement. Now we will start the Page 3 of 17
discussion of the 6 principles unveiled by American official. According to the latter and the Moscow declaration as well, these principles are the cardinal directions and host ways to solve the conflict peacefully. The first point is related to the return of refugees and about its inevitability. The diplomat states6: “An enduring settlement will have to recognize the right of all IDPs and refugees to return to their former places of residence”. First of all, we need to clarify that the concepts of “refugee and internally displaced persons” are related only to the Azerbaijani population here. By taking account vital state and national interests of Armenia, obviously, this issue is too painful and risky. The history proved more than once that Armenian and Azerbaijani people have had difficulties in living together since 1905-07 Armenian-Tatar confrontation. Moreover, Armenians can't forget marked policy of Azerbaijan (both The Republic of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan SSR) towards Nagorno-Karabakh and its Armenian inhabitants in 1918-21. Ultimately, we were the witnesses of the huge massacres of Armenian civilians in Sumgait
January)7. During these days Azerbaijani authorities even initiated segregations on the basis of nationality which lead to the murder of hundreds of Armenian people. When we're accumulating the aggressive war obliged to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan in 1990-1994 and the behavior of Azerbaijani population too, the pattern becomes fully thorough. It should be noted that no one can openly and definitely assure whether the real refugees will return or those who have never been to NK. It is not a covert fact that lots of Azerbaijanis have certain negative attitude toward Armenians. Furthermore, lots of them might have immutable provocative skills and abilities, Page 4 of 17
which can be used against Armenian civilians. Particularly, the international community became witness of Ramil Safarof’s case and was confused by the behavior of Azerbaijani population and authorities in 2012. Even the State Department of the U.S. announced its concerns with President Ilham Aliev’s actions when he gave pardon and awarded the title of major to the Azerbaijani assassin8. In addition, taking into consideration the history of ArmenianAzerbaijani relations and their hesitant and hostile character, should anyone talk about the requirement that refugees must return? It is true fact that Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh
Azerbaijan since 1989, when NK even was full of Azerbaijanis9. That's why this country’s hostile stand towards Armenia is not linked with current situation, in particular with the absence of Azerbaijani population in NK or their departure from “their homes”. There is another crucial problem tied to the issue of refugees which, in turn, is associated with Armenians. It is eminent fact that many Armenians escaped from Martakert, Shahumyan, Artsvashen, Getashen and other habitats, which are under Azeri control at present. Nowadays, even parallel with meetings of Armenian and Azeri diplomats, the Azeri military forces keep shooting on Armenian civilians in different regions and villages: these actions against civilians are very similar to bombings in 1991-9210. If all the above-mentioned factors are contemplated we have to ask: is it possible for Azeri to tolerate Armenian refugees return to their homelands? Summing up, we have to underscore the fact that the return of refugees is not restricted by Armenians. The main problem is that whether they are ready to live nearby Armenians peacefully. It is quite possible
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that this issue, which is always raised by Azeri authorities, has a purpose to break the negotiations and prevent an advanced and plentiful solution. Another urgent point in the negotiations concerns the status of NagornoKarabakh. Afterwards we will try to conceive how the international community looks ahead the mechanism of determining the status of NK. What are the origins of this conflict and what kind of evolvement it had within last 20 years? Within
“In light of Nagorno-
Karabakh’s complex history, the sides should commit to determining its final legal status through a mutually agreed and legally binding expression of will in the future. This is not optional. Interim status will be temporary”. Surely, the diplomat didn’t give the explanation for the “expression of will” concept. Nonetheless, it is interesting enough that the USA considers the status temporary and accentuates its confidence toward the problem as “the challenge is to find a way to help the sides take that last, bold step forward to bridge their remaining differences”11. Paying attention on such equivocal concept as “expression of will”, we are faced with its ambiguousness and still have difficulties to understand how it will be held. First and foremost, we need to mention the focal point that Armenia, declaring itself the representative of NK, more than 15 years had administered inflexible foreign policy. Nagorno-Karabakh authorities and its people as well should express their certain attitude toward this issue, but not Armenia or anyone else. Armenia was considered the third side12 of the conflict whose responsibilities were (1) honoring cease-fire, (2) assisting negotiations between NK and Azerbaijan, (3) maintaining certain guarantees for the security of NagornoKarabakh state and people until 1998. Unfortunately, now Armenian two Page 6 of 17
mandates are joined and reduced the mobility of foreign policy in the negotiation process. The latter fact should be examined by the consideration of the pressure on Armenia and NK from international community. Foreign players had to deal separately with Armenia and the independent Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and reach conclusions with each side one by one until 1998-99. Logically, there is no such obstacle nowadays. Whatever Serge Sargssian promises, no other Bako Sahakian13 can deny. What concerns the issue of “expression of will” all sides don’t have lots of choices. The international community patently speculates about either plebiscite or referendum. Nevertheless, in this case we are faced with some queries which have never been responded yet. For instance, who will be responsible for the referendum, who will participate in it, where will it take place and so forth? It is also uncertain who will participate in this procedure from Azerbaijani side: people - who escaped from NK or those - who had never been there? On the other hand, Nagorno-Karabakh has lost its place around the negotiation table due to Robert Kocharyan’s mistake14, so then the chief negotiator has been Armenia for more than 15 years. Consequently, what will be its role in the referendum advance? Eventually, whether would Azerbaijan keep neutrality during the process? In addition, there was no disturbing juncture for Azerbaijan to hold a referendum in 1988-90 when Azerbaijan SSR still had political influence on Nagorno-Karabakh and was governing NKAO (NKAR) 15 and its surrounding districts. It would be appropriate to draw a small parallel between the conflicts of Nagorno-Karabakh and Kosovo here. The Western countries were undoubtedly interested in independence of Kosovo. They advocated the independence of this unity with the plebiscite and International Court of Justice advisory opinion on Page 7 of 17
Kosovo's declaration of independence16. For the Western society it is advisable to pass the process of independence through the procedures of The Hague. Of course, the Crimea’s case is completely disparate. Russia tried to keep “international tendency and traditions” and held a referendum there, which, unfortunately, was not appropriate to Ukraine law17. In contrast with Crimea, NKAO state committee MP’s decided to send an application to the central authorities in Moscow asking USSR to transfer the land from Azerbaijani SSR to Armenian SSR (20 February 1988)18. The resolution passed by a vote 110/17 requesting incorporation19. Then NK authorities had to hold a nation-wide referendum themselves and declared the independence of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh (10 December 1991)20. In fact, NK had already realized its right to “expression of will” and declared its independence according to the laws of USSR21. In essence, Crimea should have asked Ukraine authorities for referendum and then hold it (with or without the help of official Kiev). But the key point is that Crimea should have started its independence procedure by cooperation with central authorities. NK has already initiated the necessary steps successfully towards ending the conflict in 1991. Anyway, it is indubitable that one of the ways of final solution should be referendum. Notwithstanding, the ambiguous notion of “expression of will” is obviously abased in comparison with last years, especially 1997’s “step-by-step” plan. It is worth mentioning that the principles, announced by Warlick, had been previously praised by Serge Sargssian in front of Metthew Bryza and other American officials22. Pondering the question into a wider context, it is worth mentioning that RA MFA asserted a statement after Warlick’s pronouncement. According to RA MFA proposition Warlick said nothing new23. That’s why we Page 8 of 17
can infer that these principles are ones which are on the negotiation table and the main point is the interim status of Nagorno-Karabakh. In addition, the question of NK temporary status is the hardest in its character and all sides still have difficulties in reaching an agreement on this issue. The US Co-chair of Minsk Group clarifies NK interim status: “The area within the boundaries of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region that is not controlled by Baku should be granted an interim status that, at a minimum, provides guarantees for security and selfgovernance”: As far as we can see it is dangerous enough that the status will be related only to NKAO whereas it is overt that NKAO does not exist anymore with its previous borders. By separating the question of NKAO and liberated territories, especially Kelbajar and Lachin districts, Azerbaijan can again estate its blockade regime on NKAO and turn the situation to its origins to 1992, which will logically tend to the war again. Surely, the compromise supposes that some territories (districts) would be given to Azerbaijan, but the return of all, as demands Azerbaijan (and manifestly gets the support of the world), can’t be acceptable for Armenian people. Unfortunately, the Armenian authorities seems don’t want to oppose to this resolution. The interim status of NK has been discussing in “step-by-step” and “package deal” variants since 1997-98. Neither Azerbaijan nor Nagorno-Karabakh gave their permission to the “package deal” solution. Meanwhile, Armenia accepted both proposals declaring its stipulations in 199724. Moreover, President Ter-Petrossian announced that Armenia will agree with every solution that satisfies Nagorno-Karabakh and its population. In reality, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh had absolutely different overviews towards the status of NK Page 9 of 17
and were just busy by declining any offer from Minsk Group on this basis. As the sides’ approaches were radical and they couldn’t come to decisive agreement, the international community had to provide “step-by-step” proposal of solution, which would postpone the status problem to “the near future”. According to this implication some liberated territories would have to be given to Azerbaijan, some peace-maker military forces would be situated on the line of contact, the blockades by Azerbaijan and Turkey would have to be demolished and refugees would be returned. By the way, there would be established buffer, separate and flying large zones between Nagorno-Karabakh-Azerbaijan borders25. Armenian authorities were sure that the final decision on NK status should be delayed as neither Azerbaijan nor NK could come to mutual consent in 199798. Armenia’s Security Council meeting was held in Yerevan, which had been discussing the possible development of negotiations in 1998 January 7-826. The “Kharabakh Party” and some Armenian officials27 were demanding the clear and final status for NK from the President of Armenia, who wanted to solve the conflict as long as Armenia has strong positions28. Politically illusive, unreal and radical attitude of “known forces”29 was opposed even the understandings of international community. Ruling circles well-informed about the words of Russian President Boris Yeltsin on this issue: “What, do they want the status of the U.S.?”30. The next principle, acknowledged by Warlick, relates to the international guarantees towards the security of Armenian people. He acclaims: “A settlement must include international security guarantees that would include a peacekeeping operation. There is no scenario in which peace can be assured without a well-designed peacekeeping operation that enjoys the Page 10 of 17
confidence of all sides”.
It is ridiculous, but we can assume that as Soviet
military forces guaranteed Armenians security in 1988-91, the international forces, which are promised by Warlick, would act accurately the same way. In addition, by coincidence the international community proved more than once how they can guarantee the security of many nations and save them from massacres. History reminds international high-level guarantees which were given to Armenians in 10 August 1920. The Entente signed a settlement with Turkey and handed the Western part of Historical Armenia over to Armenians’ dominance. The western states totally forgot about this document in 1920 September, when Turkey started war against small and weak Armenia and demanded the renunciation of Sevres treaty31. Another historical evidence concerns the actions of France in Cilicia in 1921. The French forces stayed in Cilicia and were witnesses of Armenian massacres by Turkish forces without any intervention and valid action against anti-human behavior of Turks. Finally, based on their political interests British were keeping nonalignment when Turks were murdering Greek civilians in Smyrna in 192232. The western civilization was watching on Armenian genocide (Mets Yeghern), the Holocaust, genocide of Tutsis and other anti-human massacres with its “strong” security guarantees. Today there is no doubt that after 20 years of status-quo both sides are on the same level without any advance or progress in the process of negotiation. It is odd, that the radical “known-powers” of Armenia, who were insisting on the invariable status for Nagorno-Karabakh in 1998 and have been holding negotiations more than 16 years, not only have forgotten their own previous demands, but also are presenting their eulogy about “Madrid principles” anytime by thanking various officials from Europe and US for these principles. Even in Page 11 of 17
contrast with “step-by-step” variant, “Basic principles” are obviously setback which is not really secret for negotiators. Serge Sargssian was one of radical figures in 1998, who was the Minister of Interior and National Security at that certain moment33. Now he is the chief of Armenian side in negotiations and the one who discusses the same equivocal status, “expression of will” and the return of liberated territories. Being a member of powerful “Karabakh” clan, as everybody remembers correctly, he opposed to these concepts and demanded President Ter-Petrossian’s resignation 16 years ago34. The next point announced by Warlick states: “The occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh should be returned to Azerbaijani control. There can be no settlement without respect for Azerbaijan’s sovereignty, and the recognition that its sovereignty over these territories must be restored”. Since 1996 Lisbon OSCE summit international community has showed its preference to the principle of territorial integrity35. International officials, surely, didn’t reject the right of NK sovereignty but always put it under the principle of territorial integrity36. The presidents’ joint statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict gave the principle of territorial integrity superior priority while the notion of national sovereignty was considered as secondary37, which, beyond all doubt, cannot be just coincidence. The problem of the return of liberated territories38 is the most complicated both on negotiation process and in Armenian society. Logically, the theory of compromise conjectures the return of the district mentioned above. Consequently, if the negotiator is not ready to concessions he has nothing to do with negotiations. Armenian current authorities have introduced such misinterpretation that they are not compromising one. However, we should quote Serge Sargssian’s Page 12 of 17
words39 in RA Parliament in 2006: “Who said that Aghdam is our homeland?” Furthermore, he gave an interview to one of Syrian newspapers in 200840 and acknowledged that Armenia is ready to return so-called occupied territories41. So then, it is easy to conclude that Armenia is not against the return of all territories if Azerbaijan gives something worthy in return. Discussing the problem of immediate connection between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh Warlick avers: “There should be a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh. It must be wide enough to provide secure passage, but it cannot encompass the whole of Lachin district”. It is entirely unsuitable, how Armenia can agree with the return of Lachin district instead of getting a narrow corridor. In fact, Lachin district is the main connector of Armenia and NK, that’s why without it, NK would again occur in the blockade situation. The return of Kelbadjar is also venturesome, which gives Armenian side a positional advantage and if the district is returned, during possible war, the Azerbaijan would gain lots of benefits from it and have unconditional opportunities for killing Armenian civilians as they did in 1991-93. It is unarguable that according to 1997 “step-by-step” plan, the integrated Lachin district would be a part of NK with its interim status. Today Warlick avouches that the large corridor (in real, it is about 40 km) can’t involve the whole district. Nevertheless, this district was not under suspicion 17 years ago. Apparently, Armenian current authorities don’t deny these conversations. Serge Sargssian presented the evidence of this belief some years ago: “We are just interested in large corridor”. Noticeably, he accentuated not the entire district, but only the necessity of corridor security.
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Taking into account all merits and drawbacks we’ve enumerated above it is obvious that as a result of current authorities’ policy Armenia has lost its strong position around the negotiation table and particularly the whole district, whereas the immunity of Lachin was maintained at all in 1997. Interestingly, on Kelbadjar theme Azerbaijan had always uncompromised approach. According to some influential figures, Armenian authorities were trying to preserve this district, too, and involve it in the transitional status of NK along with Lachin42. Unfortunately, inner political discrepancy and the violation of initial agreements led to the coup d’etat in 1998 February. As a result, the policy was cut off. Finally, we should emphasize that Warlick’s speech, forsooth, was founded on the basis of “Madrid principles”. It is worth mentioning conclusion that current authorities of Armenia are arguing the same points around the negotiation table, which were rejected by them 15 years ago. Perhaps Ter-Petrossian was indeed right when had called the Artsakh issue43 as wholly false motive in palace coup of 199844.
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Notes 1. Thomas De Vaal, Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through Peace and War, New York University Press, New York and London, 2003, p. 251. 2. It is the proposal which was offered by OSCE Minsk Group to Armenia and Azerbaijan in Madrid in 29 November 2007. 3. Levon Ter-Petrossian, The resignation statement, 03 February 1998. 4. L.Ter-Petrossian, Return: Speeches, interviews, press conferences, Erevan, 2009, pp. 295-96. 5. Declaration between the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation,
http://archive.kremlin.ru/eng/text/docs/2008/11/208708.shtml. 6. Ambassador James Warlick, Nagorno-Karabakh: The Keys to a Settlement, Carnegie Endowment
http://armenia.usembassy.gov/news050714.html. 7. L.Ter-Petrossian, Selected speeches, articles interviews, Erevan, 2006, p. 549. 8.
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/08/197250.htm. 9. International reference on reconstruction and development of Armenia (National Archive of Armenia, F163, C.145, D.169). 10. Gerard J. Libaridian, Commentary on FM Davutoðlu’s TPQ article on the Armenian issue, Turkish Policy Quarterly, 2014, p. 11. 11. Ambassador James Warlick, Nagorno-Karabakh: The Keys to a Settlement. 12. L.Ter-Petrossian, Selected speeches, articles, interviews, p. 303. 13. The third “President” of “the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh”. 14. After President Ter-Petrossian’s resignation the government was changed in 1998. The result of new elections was the presidency of Robert Kocharyan, who had been the first “president” of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. He declared that he alone could hold negotiations with Azerbaijan from Armenian side which excluded NKR from the active process of negotiations. NKR participated in the process from 1994-1998. Today one of actual issues is the necessity to return NKR to negotiations. Many analysts and commentators are confident of the fact that Kocharyan did huge mistake by evicting NKR from high-level talks. There is a wide range of Page 15 of 17
references on this issue within “Wikileaks” documents which were composed by American various diplomats and ambassadors. 15. During Soviet rule the land was named Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, but now the international community calls it Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. 16. International Court of Justice, Advisory opinion, 22 July 2010. 17. EU: Crimea referendum illegal. http://www.voanews.com/content/eu-crimea-referendumillegal/1865590.html (06.03.2014). 18. “Sovetsky Karabakh”, 21 February 1988. 19. G. Libaridian, The Karabakh File: Documents and Facts on the Question of Mountainous Karabakh, 1918-1988. Cambridge: The Zorian Institute, 1988, p. 90. 20. T. De Vaal, op. cit., p. 162. 21. Shahen Avakian, Nagorno-Karabakh: Legal aspects, Tigran mets, Yerevan, 2013, p. 20. 22. EUR DAS Bryza’s November 16 meeting with Armenian President Sargsian. 08YEREVAN979_a.http://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08YEREVAN979_a.html (2013). 23. Armenian Foreign Ministry comments on James Warlick’s statement on NagornoKarabakh. http://www.panorama.am/en/politics/2014/05/10/mfa-ra/ (15.09.2014). 24. L. Ter-Petrossian, Selected speeches, articles, interviews, p. 618. 25. L. Ter-Petrossian, Selected speeches, articles, interviews, p. 618 26. T. De Vaal, op. cit., p. 260. 27. Carol Migdalovitz, Armenia: Unexpected change in government, CRS Report for Congress, update 5 May 1998, CRS-3. 28. L. Ter-Petrossian, “War or peace? Time to be thoughtful”, “The Republic of Armenia” newspaper, 1 November 1997. 29. C. Midgalovitz, op. cit., CRS-3. 30. “The fourth power” newspaper, 10 February 2004. Online version: No 354. 31. The Treaty of Sèvres (10 August 1920) was intended to be peace treaty between the Ottoman Empire and Allies at the end of World War I. Armenia was given a large part of the region according to the border fixed by the President of the United States of America Woodrow Wilson. The regenerated Armenia would include approximately 160.000 km2. 32. Kirli, Biray Kolluoglu, Forgetting the Smyrna Fire, History Workshop Journal, Issue 60, Oxford University Press, 2005, pp. 25-44. Page 16 of 17
33. C. Migdalovitz, op. cit., CRS-3. 34. Stephan Astourian, From Ter-Petrosian to Kocharian: leadership change in Armenia, University of California, Berkeley, 2000-2001, p. 48. 35. T. De Vaal, op. cit., p. 256. 36. Alexander Arzoumanyan, The truth about Lisbon, “Armenian times” newspaper, 26 June 2010. 37. Joint Statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict by Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, and Franсois Hollande,
office/2013/06/18/joint-statement-nagorno-karabakh-conflict-barack-obama-presidentunited- (18.06.2013). 38. The seven districts that Azerbaijan demands from Armenian side are known worldwide as occupied territories. Nonetheless, Armenia is sure that they should not be considered as occupied. They are truly liberated because were taken away from Armenians by USSR without legal arguments. According to our erudition USSR actions were violation of international law. Actually, it was a part of Stalin’s “divide and rule” policy, which particularly aimed to “leave a narrow strip of land separating it physically from Armenia” (See, Christopher Walker, Armenia and Karabakh: The struggle for unity. London: Minority Right Publications, 1991. p. 190). Thus, the correct term for these territories should not be “occupied”, so then we are using the valid expression – “liberated territories”. 39. Speech in Armenian Parliament, 2005. 40. “Al Watan”, 22.03.2010. 41. The 7 districts are the followings: Lachin, Kalbajar, Djabrail, Zangelan, Kubatly, Fizuli, Aghdam. 42. “The fourth power” newspaper, 28 July 2006. Online version: No 583. 43. “Artsakh issue” is the definition of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the Armenian language. 44. L. Ter-Petrossian, Selected speeches, articles, interviews, p. 661: “I refrain from any comments or assessment not to aggravate the situation. I just think it is necessary to note that the speculation over the Artsakh problem was just an excuse in the crisis of power. The problem is much deeper and is connected with the fundamental principle of statehood and the alternative between peace and war”.
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