Interview of NKR Deputy Foreign Minister Masis Mayilian to REGNUM IA
REGNUM: Mr. Mayilian, what are currently the most urgent issues in the Nagorno Karabagh foreign policy?
M.M. The most topical issue of the Karabagh diplomacy is the legal recognition of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic. I would say it is an imperative. All the other goals and consequent actions are aimed at achieving the NKR recognition by the international community. However, it should be realized that the lack of recognition doesn't belittle our independence and all-sufficiency. As you know, according to the international law, recognition by other states has a declarative and not constituent significance. At the same time, the recognition of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic will mean an important step on the way of NKR joining the international community, and will help involve the Republic in the regional integration processes. Surely, we face certain difficulties on our way to the recognition, the overcoming of which defines the range of our current goals.
Our diplomacy has the classical goals similar to the majority of the world countries: ensuring the people's security from any possible foreign threats, via political and diplomatic means. In our case, the unresolved Azerbaijani-Karabagh conflict is a grave challenge. NKR, as a party to the conflict, is interested in establishing a dialogue with Azerbaijan in order to create neighborly relations. But Azerbaijan displays no interest in this, which testifies to its non-readiness for resuming grave and constructive dialogue with Nagorno Karabagh. To continue the consultations between Armenia and Azerbaijan is very important, as it contributes to reducing the tension in the region, but everybody realizes that for achieving considerable results this format should be transformed into trilateral, and the sooner the better.
In the existing situation, it is important for us to maintain the strategic balance in the region, ensuring peace and stability in the South Caucasus.
We have also another goal - to create a positive image for NKR abroad, and increase the investment attraction of the Republic.
REGNUM: What is the main reason of excluding Nagorno Karabagh from the negotiation process under the aegis of the OSCE Minsk Group, and what should be done for resuming the negotiations in their full format? Is Nagorno Karabagh ready to defend its positions at tete-a-tete negotiations with Azerbaijan?
M.M. First, I'd like to note that the negotiation process is currently suspended, and the parties hold consultations on searching ways of resuming the negotiations under the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group. As of the very negotiations in the frameworks of the Minsk process, NKR representatives always participated in them till their suspension in April 1997.
Currently, Nagorno Karabagh doesn't participate in the consultations held between the officials of Armenia and Azerbaijan, which is caused by the Azerbaijan party's non-readiness for contacting with official Stepanakert. The negotiations' resumption in the trilateral format is not an end in itself for us. For establishing a dialogue, the concern and political will of all the parties involved in the conflict are needed. The parties should realize it themselves.
As of the Karabagh authorities' readiness to defend their positions at the negotiations with Azerbaijan, the NKR leadership is ready for it and, moreover, it has repeatedly initiated establishing a dialogue and discussing the whole complex of issues without any preconditions.
REGNUM: What role does Russia play in the process of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict settlement?
M.M. Russia has already gone down in the annals of the modern history of Artsakh as a country, which played a key role in ceasing the bloody war between NKR and Azerbaijan in May 1994. Besides, historically Russia occupies its special niche as a traditional friendly state in the perception of the Karabagh people. Currently, Russia, along with the USA and France, plays an important role as a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, trying to bring the approaches of the conflicting parties closer. Besides, I see Russia not only as a mediator in the settlement of our long conflict. There is a great potential to be developed in the relations with the Russian Federation in the political, economic, religious, cultural, and educational spheres.
REGNUM: Is joint Azerbaijani-Karabagh production of the 'Aghdam' wine real in the prospect, as President of Russia Vladimir Putin noted?
M.M. I don't think that Vladimir Putin's remark should be taken literally. I evaluate this proposal as an appeal for starting regional cooperation, which would contribute to the resolution of disputes between the two nations. In this context, the approach of the Russian leader should be appreciated.
REGNUM: Mr. Mayilian, how do you estimate the level of NKR cooperation with other unrecognized states in the post-Soviet area?
M.M. I believe that our cooperation with the unrecognized states adequately reflects our common goals. We support close bilateral relations with the Republic of Abkhazia, Republic of South Ossetia, and the Transdnestrian Moldavian Republic. For the last few years, NKR representatives have repeatedly visited the countries on various levels, and we received corresponding delegations in Karabagh. Close cooperation on some political issues of mutual interest is established.
As of the multilateral cooperation in the frameworks of the Association «For Democracy and Rights of Nations», we participate in the activity of this structure as observers, and this level of cooperation meets our national interests to date, which is accepted by our partners.
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