The Artsakh Movement started in 1988 as the expression of the will of people of Nagorno Karabakh to join Armenia, but meantime it was also a movement for social rights, for human rights, a movement for the right to live securely, to live freely, Foreign Minister of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Karen Mirzoyan said in an interview with France 24.
“During the war that followed our movement we took the decision to be independent, seeing this form as statehood as a more secure way to live in this region,” he added.
The Foreign Minister said that in response to peaceful demonstrations, Azerbaijan unleashed massacres in the Armenian-inhabited cities of Sumgait, Baku, Kirovabad. “The response to this was a full-scale aggression against Nagorno Karabakh.”
Asked about the territories surrounding Nagorno Karabakh, the Foreign Minister said: “The aim of liberation of these territories was to create a buffer zone to provide the people of Nagorno Karabakh with a possibility to live secure.”
Is there any opportunity for Azerbaijanis to return to Nagorno Karabakh? Is there an opportunity for Armenians and Azerbaijanis to live in harmony on this territory?
“Everybody understands that sooner or later we’ll come to some common conclusion, and two independent states –Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan – will co-existence freely and peacefully,” Karen Mirzoyan said.
Speaking about the peace process underway under the auspices of the three co-chairing countries – Russia, the United States and France, the Foreign Minister said the process started as an attempt to bring together the three parties of the conflict.
“The main parties to this conflict are Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan, and later Armenia was involved. Unfortunately, the situation changed starting from late 1990s, and Nagorno Karabakh was left out of the negotiation process,” Minister Mirzoyan said, adding that it’s the main reason of the stalemate in the process.
“War is not a solution to this conflict. War will be a catastrophe for everybody,” he said, adding that that “war will ruin the plans of Nagorno Karabakh to build secure and prosperous statehood.
Speaking about the economic situation, the Foreign Minister said a 9-10% growth has been registered over the past 2-3 years. “We have no oil, but we have mining industry, we have energy producing, agriculture, we are trying to develop new fields of economy, namely tourism and Information Technologies,” he said.
Asked whether there is a fear that the US could take sides with Azerbaijan in this conflict, Karen Mirzoyan said “we’re trying to keep good relations with all countries.” “Our goal is to work with these countries (Russia, US and France) to find a common way out from this situation.”
“Azerbaijan has to change its stance. Azerbaijan is a country , which is cultivating the culture of xenophobia and hatred towards everything Armenian. Azerbaijan is the country, which makes a national hero out of an axe-murderer,” the NKR Foreign Minister stated.