„Suntem ÎNCREZĂTORI că TIMPUL VA VINDECA RĂNILE din SUFLETUL ARMENILOR și AZERILOR!” – spune Masis MAYILIAN, ministrul afacerilor externe din Nagorno-Karabakh în interviul acordat site-ului (în limba engleză)

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Vasile SIMILEANU: Dear sir, you are representing Nagorno-Karabakh! Are we talking about a pride or a strategic position?

Masis MAYILIAN: Serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Artsakh is, first of all, a responsibility to represent, promote and defend the interests of our young democracy on the international arena. Our people have paid a high price for our independence, and continue to fight for our freedom and chosen path. It is a prerogative that we do our utmost to make sure Artsakh’s victories continue to take place not only on a battlefield, but also on the political-diplomatic arena.

V.S.: Are we talking about people different from Azerbaijanis and Armenians, with their own identity or a manipulation imposed by other states?

Masis MAYILIAN: Armenians around the globe share the same identity, culture and worldview. Artsakh is an integral part of the Armenian civilization. History of Artsakh as an Armenian principality traces back to the 5th century B.C., and is mentioned as such in the works of Strabo, Plutarch, Dio Cassius, and other ancient authors. And despite numerous attempts by various invaders, we have preserved the Armenian identity of Artsakh throughout the centuries, and remain an inseparable part of the Armenian Homeland. Azerbaijanis, in their turn, have a different history, religion, and level of formation as a people.

V.S.: Mister Minister, all over the world there are extremist factions of an ethnic, religious, linguistic nature and territorial claims are part of human nature. It mostly depends on us how we manage a conflict, with historical resonances. What are the historical and current causes of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict? Who are the parties involved?

Masis MAYILIAN: The Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict is one of the most cruel and protracted confrontations in Europe. It is a result of Azerbaijan’s unwillingness to respect the international law, and accept that Artsakh has the same universal rights and liberties, as any other nation around the world.As a dispute, the problem of Nagorno Karabakh emerged in 1918, when fall of the Russian Empire raised the necessity to demarcate borders between Armenia, which has restored its sovereignty, and Azerbaijan – a country that has appeared for the first time on the political map, putting claims on historically Armenian territories, including Artsakh.However, Azerbaijan’s attempts to subjugate Artsakh were unsuccessful until the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin pressured to incorporate 40% of Artsakh’s territory into the Azerbaijani Soviet Republic, as part of the Soviet Union. It is important to stress that independent Azerbaijani state has never had administration over Artsakh. Armenia resisted the illegitimate decision. Yet, weakened by the Armenian Genocide, was unable to prevent Artsakh from being severed and placed as autonomy into the Soviet Azerbaijan.During almost seven decades of Nagorno Karabakh’s existence within Soviet Azerbaijan – a part of the Soviet Union – the authorities in Baku have been regularly violating the rights of Karabakh Armenians, hampered the region’s economic development, and implementing a policy of deportation of Armenians from Nagorno Karabakh, thus attempting to transform the demographic composition of the region in favor of its Azerbaijani minority.In 1988, in order to stop the discrimination of Artsakh, and protect the basic rights of local population, the legislature of the autonomy has started the first truly democratic process in the USSR, appealing to correct Stalin’s illegitimate decision, and to return Artsakh to Armenia. However, Azerbaijan proved to be unwilling to deal with the Karabakh issue using political-legal means, and chose to resort to force. Soon after the peaceful appeal of Karabakh, a wave of anti-Armenian pogroms and mass killings took place in major towns of Azerbaijan. It was the time when we in Artsakh realized the urgent need to self-organize, and mobilize all available resources to protect our choice.On September 2, 1991, the legislature of Nagorno Karabakh, acting in a full compliance with then acting legislation, proclaimed the formation of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. Unfortunately, Azerbaijan refused to accept Artsakh’s legal choice, and launched a full-scale military aggression against our young republic. Azeri aggression has claimed dozens of thousands lives, and devastated almost the entire economic and social infrastructure in Karabakh. Yet, we succeeded in defending the right to live in freedom, and forced the aggressors to seek ceasefire, which has been signed in 1994 by Artsakh, Azerbaijan and Armenia. The September 27, 2020 violation of the cease-fire agreement and attack against Artsakh became another manifestation that Azerbaijan, now openly instigated by Turkey, has not abandoned its revanchist aspirations to conquer Artsakh by force. Turkey stands behind Azerbaijan in diplomatic, political and military spheres. Ankara has even become the first country to openly deploy terrorists from northern Syria, which is under Turkey’s control, and Libya to fight against Artsakh. So currently our army defends Artsakh against the triple alliance of Turkey, Azerbaijan and terrorist organizations.

V.S.: Dear Sir, Armenia and Azerbaijan are within Moscow’s sphere of influence, and Azerbaijan flirts with Turkey. What allies do you have? What strategic partnerships and with which states do you have ongoing relations?

Masis MAYILIAN: Armenians of the world are the natural ally of Artsakh. At the same time, we think that any member of the civilized world, who rejects aggressive expansionism, and supports fundamental human rights and liberties should support Artsakh in our aspirations to continue developing as a sovereign democracy.

V.S.: Sir, Armenia has decreed general mobilization and martial law! Iran has mobilized its forces on the border with Azerbaijan, Turkey and Azerbaijan have carried out joint military exercises. Every day we hear about victims on the front, of downed planes and people who are forced to leave their homes to take refuge. It is the same apocalyptic, nightmare image I encountered during the documentary visit to the Lugansk area. What will be the end of this scenario? Who will win and who will lose? We are not talking about wounded pride, we are talking about real people who are suffering! What will Russia and Turkey do to reduce and extinguish the conflict? Will the conflict spread, attracting Turkey, Russia and Iran? What are the international reactions and involvement?

Masis MAYILIAN: The current Azerbaijan’s aggression against Artsakh is different in its scope, intensity and weaponry in use. Another significant difference is that this time Turkey openly backs Azerbaijan by implementing command and control of the Azerbaijani armed forces, and transports mercenaries from the Middle East to fight against Armenians. This is why we call on the international community to take urgent actions in order to prevent the situation from spiraling out of control and threatening to impact not only the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict zone, but the larger region.

V.S.: Excellency, do you think that after international negotiations Armenia and Azerbaijan will renounce Nagorno Karabakh? Let me explain: can it be a new independent state that is no longer tributary of Baku? Can it be a similar solution to Kosovo? Personally, after generations have been hostile, I believe that the solution belongs and is found in the consciousness of every Armenian and Azerbaijani!

Masis MAYILIAN: By declaring independent in 1992 the Republic of Artsakh, our people have already expressed their vision of a future, which is to live and develop as a sovereign democracy and a responsible member of the international community. Our Republic has significant achievements on the chosen path, and we are resolute to continue building the future of Artsakh in accordance with the aspirations of our people.

Excellency, hank you for giving this interview.

We are confident that time will heal the wounds in the souls of Armenians and Azeris!