11, 2008

Interview of President Serzh Sargsyan to the Public TV

Mr. President, today, the NK issue is the main topic for the politicians, the analysts as well as the mass media. The analysis of different viewpoints suggests that we are making unilateral concessions. Is it true?

No, of course not. Simply some politicians and some political forces in Armenia believe that the elections are not over yet and use every opportunity for speculations. They study meticulously the Azeri-Turkish media and relevant analyses, they make predictions and arrive at the conclusions paying no attention to the official positions of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, not even to the negations that appear in that very Azeri-Turkish papers. The point is that all their analyses, conclusions, and horrid predictions always come to the same, zero result. I have been stating through the years and I will repeat it now: the Nagorno Karabakh conflict will be resolved when the people of NK exercise, are able to exercise their right for self-determination. To be more precise, if Azerbaijan accepts the possibility that the people of NK can exercise their right for self-determination. Second, if Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh are to have a land border, if the people of NK receive strong security guarantees. This is a very simple issue, and only a madman will attempt to find only concessions in these provisions. Speaking on the NK issue for the last 17-18 years, I have never used a “unilateral concessions” expression, not even the word “concession”. “Compromise” maybe, yes, but “concession” – never. We are solving a very cherished and important issue for our people and we are not trying to get some dividends during the different events or statements. We are solving the problem, yes, through the statements. We are solving the problems through the meetings, negotiations, through different means, and our goal is, and I want to repeat, to solve the problem, and to be honest and sincere along the way with our combat friends as well as with out people. Not presenting unattainable things, not trying to mislead the people. This is the truth.

Mr. President, the Mayendorf Declaration, which you signed together with your Russian and Azerbaijani colleagues, has also become a target for criticism. What would you say, what is the problem?

I had no doubt in my mind that this document would be criticized despite the fact that this is actually the only document in which Azerbaijan accepts the political method for the resolution of the NK conflict. In general terms, an opinion was voiced initially that it was a mistake to sign a document with no signature of the NK’s President or NK authorities on it. I would like to remind these critics and others of the part of my address to the National Assembly and the nation where I speak about the resolution of the NK conflict and on when it can be solved: when we congratulate the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh on their willful decision and on the peaceful resolution of the conflict. Is it possible to put it more clearly? I am for the engagement of the President of Nagorno Karabakh in the negotiations and I think that it would be the most efficient way, probably. However, the Mayendorf Declaration has nothing to do with this idea, and it represents the understanding of the three Presidents regarding the resolution of the conflict. The declaration is not a refuge, and it is not a part of the negotiations. The Presidents of the three states declare that the conflict must be solved through political means. I would like to elaborate on this a little. Afterwards I visited France and European structures. Let’s say in Paris or in Brussels another document had been proposed for signing, which would further validate our position on the peaceful solution of the conflict, what was I supposed to say – hold on till I get someone from Nagorno Karabakh? It is illogical, isn’t it? I want to repeat: yes, the most efficient way to solve the problem is to make the NK authorities a party of the negotiations, so that they can take part in all negotiations and ultimately it is how it’s going to be, there is simply no other way. Second, there have been some talks that Azerbaijan might speculate on the part of declaration where it is stated that the conflict could be solved based on the international principles and on the documents and decisions adopted in that framework. Isn’t it obvious that it is all about the main document where the solution of the NK problem is to be found? It is about the Charters, the Final Act, all those basic documents where the solution to the NK problem is to be found. Some would say, no. Azerbaijan may take it as a reference to the UN resolutions and speculate on that. It is quite understandable that the Azeri may speculate on this issue, but why do you speculate? Are you tipping-off the Azeris, or are you enjoying the idea of the Azeris’ speculations? The Azeris may speculate on a lot of things. Eventually, it must be comprehended that this is no the Serzh Sargsyan issue, that this is the NK issue. One may like or dislike Serzh Sargsyan, one may respect or disrespect Serzh Sargsyan – it is one’s personal business. One can also carry on with criticizing everything, however one should also realize, and I repeat, that this is the NK issue.

Could you however elaborate on the possible time frame for the resolution of the conflict and on the public’s participation in that process?

It would be difficult to talk about the time frame. When I repeat constantly that we are not going to procrastinate the issue, it doesn’t mean, however, that tomorrow, or next month, or in three or four months the problem will be solved. Yes, I am confident that we should not artificially postpone the resolution of the conflict, but we yet have to come to the decision, we have to reach the agreement which will be followed by another extended process.
I have said it on many occasion, I repeat it now: this problem cannot be solved through the efforts of 1, 2, 3,131, even 1300 people. This is one of the most vital issues for our people and our people should have their say on this matter, on whether they accept the option which we will arrive at as the result of the negotiations. To inquire on the details of the negotiations every day is also the politicians’ job. The negotiators’ job is to present to the public in general terms of the principles of the resolution while withholding the details since the negotiations is a difficult and a sensitive issue as it is, and we should be both careful as well as aim oriented. Undoubtedly, our political forces will be taking part in the discussions. I think, now it is not the proper time to debate this issue but to deal with this hullabaloo I will probably invite the leaders of the political parties and will listen to their questions, I’ll try to understand what concerns them. We have a long road ahead of us. We must be able to reach in the course of the negotiations a decision which, at least in my opinion, will be in the best interest of our people. The next step is to open the issue for public discussions, the step after that is to sign the agreement, next – to sign relevant documents, and so on and so on.

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