The British NGO LINKS has just published a study with the views of Armenian political parties on the Karabakh conflict and conflict resolution process. The study is based on face to face interviews with twenty three senior Armenian politicians held earlier this year. The study launches a programme entitled Karabakh: The Big Debate during which the organisation will contribute to creating space for more discussion on the Karabakh issue in the region and beyond.
The second part of the study, reflecting the views of Azerbaijani political parties will be published in a few days time.
In an introduction to the publication, LINKS Executive Director, Dennis Sammut says that the study “maps out the declared positions of the political parties. It helps the reader to understand the domestic political context in which the Karabakh negotiations are taking place. Despite the fact that neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan are perfect democracies the leaders of the two countries cannot ignore the views of the politically active part of society on the iissue, which all agree is of vital importance for both countries”.
the „voice of non-ruling‟ is rather weak in all three subjects of the conflict, but in the undercurrent developments on Armenian sides, for example, in the Parliament between the opposition and ruling coalition, mark that there is no political affiliation at stake when it comes to this particular issue. I would conclude saying that I deem it even more crucial the next round of meetings and interviews with local political forces and NGOs in Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, as they are the entirety who is concerned in all of this. Their voice should be maintained lauder.
In a separate note, we are thankful to LINKS and other EPNK partners for implementing this project, together with our organisation – the Public Policy Institute, in a good faith”.
LINKS work (they say – redaction) on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and its resolution is part of the “European Partnership of the peaceful settlement of the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh” with the support of the European Union.
LINKS – The London Information Network on Conflicts and State-building was established in London in July 1997 to contribute to the peaceful resolution and the prevention of conflicts and the advancement of democratic values in societies in transition. LINKS currently also works on issues related to dialogue between Europe and the Islamic world based on mutual respect.
LINKS engagement in support of the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been consistent for more than a decade. In 2003 LINKS helped establish the Consortium initiative, an NGO coalition working for the settlement of the conflict, and since 2009 it has been a founding member of the European Partnership From 2002 to 2008 LINKS facilitated the South Caucasus Parliamentary Initiative, a dialogue process between the parliaments of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
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The Armenian Aryan Order was established in 1998 and is led by Armen Avetisyan (Party Chairman)
who has held the position from the party’s creation.
ARMENIAN ARYAN ORDER
The position of the Armenian Aryan Order (AAO) on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and peace process, based on an interview with the Chairman of the AAO, Armen Avetisyan, held in Yerevan on 15th June 2010.
■ Position on Nagorno-Karabakh and its future
The party recognizes the overriding legitimacy of the 20th February 1988 resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh assembly to be reunited with Armenia. The party maintains that its members have considered Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian Republic as of joint statehood for the past twenty years, and urges all other Armenian political parties to also recognize joint statehood.
For resolution of the conflict the party attaches significant importance to international law. The party cites the relevant conventions and resolutions issued by the UN that recognize the right for nations that have historically been residing on specific territory to form independent statehoods on those territories. The party maintains this as a strong argument for an approach to the conflict based in international law. However the party considerers the convention, although issued by the UN, as not widely enough recognized by the
international community. It therefore also promotes the right to self determination as a stronger international legal basis for independence. The party also criticizes Turkey for entering historically Armenian territory and therefore making comprehensive claims of nation-statehood more difficult.
The party contests that Azerbaijan has never had any defined state borders according to international law pre-dating Nagorno-Karabakh’s 1988 resolution for secession. The party maintains that Zionists and pan-Turkic ideology were behind the formulation of the Azeri state in 1918 as part of a wider scheme of international revolution. Furthermore, in 1917 after the October revolution in Russia, Azerbaijan was created by the Ottoman Empire in a territory where it had no precedent. In short, the Azeri nation was created out of nothing, and is merely the product of Turkish efforts.
The party maintains that Bolshevik Russia created the independent Republic of Azerbaijan, and its creation therefore cannot be considered as based in international law, highlighting the historic refusal of the League of Nations to recognize the independence of Azerbaijan. Furthermore, in 1922 a League of Nations document recognized the established borders of Nagorno-Karabakh (the Nagorno-Karabakh oblast) but failed to recognize the borders of Azerbaijan. The party believes that Nagorno-Karabakh was forcefully given to Azerbaijan by the Bolsheviks, and was therefore the decision of a political party, enjoying no legal
international basis, something also claimed for the Nakhijevan territory.
In short, the party maintains that Nagorno-Karabakh has never been part of independent Azerbaijan and independence for the Nagorno-Karabakh region therefore cannot be considered as a matter of Azeri territorial integrity. The party also considers Nagorno-Karabakh´s struggle for independence as totally legal, stressing that it has a 90 % ethnically Armenian population and should have the right to self determination. The party is committed to the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh reestablished through what is considered the liberation war of 1988.
The party was actively involved in the hostilities of 1988-1994, including the interviewee (who was Commander in Chief of the Armenian National Army (Volunteers) in 1990) and around 100 other members. These members participated in the war up until the cease-fire of 1994.
The party claims to have collaborations with all veterans’ organizations from the conflict. This is in preparation for inevitable future Azeri ag
gression, which the party would consider an opportunity to liberate more territory. However the party stressed that they will not initiate conflict, as they are wary of criticism from the international community. The party furthermore claims that more of the territory surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh could have been liberated during the hostilities had it not been for the later involvement of Russian
Regarding the movement of IDPs, the party was actively involved in managing the flow of refugees into Armenia, 1989-1994. The party claims to have helped hundreds of thousands of refugees, the majority of whom are today citizens of Armenia, but still hope to be able to return. Regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the party has relations with political parties and authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh, including a sister party, and collaborations with the people that are still living in the liberated regions.
■ Position on the peace process and international involvement
The party concedes that the OSCE Minsk Group is responsible for the major international efforts in resolution of the conflict. However, regarding the Madrid principles there are several points that they do not support. Firstly, what the party perceives as significant ambiguity regarding the right of refuges and IDPs to return back to their places of origin. For example the party maintains that no international security guarantee would in reality be enough for troubled victims of the war who suffered personal traumas and fled their homes.
Secondly, regarding territorial integrity – the party maintains that Nagorno-Karabakh has never been part of Azerbaijan, and therefore is not an issue to be discussed. The party also expresses it surprise at the lack of discussion of the ethnic cleansing and genocide it claims was committed by the Azeris.
Regarding foreign involvement, due to the high levels of mistrust between Armenia and Azerbaijan the party considers the OSCE Minsk Group (specifically its co-chairs U.S, Russia and France) as the best qualified and most legitimate body to deal with the situation. The party considers Iran, as an Islamic state and Armenian neighbour, as a neutral actor and possible mediator due to their regional position. Turkey however could have no such role as Ankara and Baku have the same policy. As Armenia is situated in a core transit region, the party suggests that other Asian countries such as Iran, India and China join the effort for peace.
■ On people to people contacts and civil society activity
The party is extremely hostile to people contacts and civil society activity, claiming that the nations of the region are fundamentally hostile towards one other and are enemies. The party further maintains that according to historical maps of the region’s territories, only Armenia exists with no accommodation for Turkey and Azerbaijan. The party maintains therefore that there is nothing to discuss with these nations and is against any possibility of cooperation, adamantly excluding any opportunity to work with them.
Regarding the free movement of people the party would consider this a right for enemies of the state to freely enter Armenian territory. The party has made public declarations that ethnic Armenians and ethnic Turks cannot live together, claiming that since co-habitation in the region 600 years ago there has not been peace.
■ Other information
The AAO contested the parliamentary elections in 1996, 2003 and 2007 and claims to have 3800 members of which around 85% are men and 15% women. It currently has no members of parliament. The party has its own media outlet at www.hayary.org and publishes a monthly journal named “Armenian Aryans”.