Conference on the “Armenian-Turkish Relations and the Artsakh Issue” - Stepanakert July 10-11, 2009

President Bako Sahakyan said: The independence of NKR is not a subject to discussions.

Conference on the
"Armenian-Turkish Relations and the Artsakh Issue" was held in
Stepanakert today. Addressing the conference, NKR President Bako
Sahakyan said:

"Respected participants of the conference,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I welcome cordially the participants of the conference on the Artsakh
issue and the Armenian-Turkish relations and put special emphasize on
the fact that it takes place in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.

This representative conference envisages comprehensive discussions of
the issues on the agenda with participation of attendees from Armenia,
Diaspora and Artsakh, who made national concerns of the Armenian people
their daily life and the essence of their very existence.

Being very much aware that those present are competent and professional
people, I would like, nevertheless, to touch upon our recent history.
It is known that in this period of the modern history of the Armenian
people, Artsakh found itself in the frontline of the liberation
movement, giving a new impetus to the revival of national consciousness
and unity of all Armenians.

Almost two decades have passed since the world-spread Armenians,
putting aside ideological and party discords, personal ambitions and
priorities, have stood by the Artsakh people fighting for restoration
of their rights and justice.

Unity became our first victory in this struggle. It unified the will
and spirit of the Armenian people at the epoch-making and hard time,
when Armenia, having survived destructive earthquake and the influx of
tens of thousands refugees, was imposed to the blockage and found
itself on the verge of humanitarian catastrophe. We, the people of
Artsakh, will never forget all those who where with us during the hard
days of the Motherland, when the fate of Artsakh was to be decided.

The war was not our choice; it was imposed on us in response to our
peaceful and civilized call for restoration of historical truth.

Heavy and unequal battles created our Defense Army, which in a very
short period of time carried out its sacred duty of defending Artsakh
people and statehood with flying colors.

Each of you has had a personal contribution to great and small military
and economic victories of Artsakh. And this very spirit of a unified
victory has made the unshakable will and readiness of the people of the
Nagorno Karabakh Republic to live freely and independently in their own
land be heard more audible.

This spirit predetermined our past, it determines the present and the
future of our people. On September 2, 1991, the Nagorno Karabakh
Republic was proclaimed. On 10 December of the same year the people of
Artsakh carried out a nation-wide referendum and announced their
decision to live in a free and sovereign country.

Our position is clear-cut and unchangeable. The independence of the
Nagorno Karabakh Republic is an accomplished fact and is not is not a
subject to discussions.

Any attempt to present the Nagorno Karabakh Republic within the
framework of Azerbaijani territorial integrity is both incomprehensible
and unacceptable for us. This neglects natural development of history
and life, as well as contradicts the realities of the past.

Since the proclamation of independence we have stood behind the path of
our choice, successfully defending the borders of Artsakh, building and
strengthening our state, efficiently overcoming difficulties on the way
of recreating and developing the country. As the result the world has
got convinced that it deals with a full-fledged state and society,
which has all the necessary attributes of statehood, embarked on the
path of democracy.

For this very reason we do not consider the restoration of the
full-fledged negotiation format as an additional pretext to remind
about our existence, but because this format is indeed a deficient one.
Artsakh, being the main party to the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict, is
now out of the negotiations and we should restore this important
principle. Without the consent of the people of the Nagorno Karabakh
Republic any decision will be impossible to implement.

We have reiterated many times that we support equal participation of
all parties in the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
However, political leadership of Azerbaijan has another vision and
always speaks about its would-be right to solve the conflict in a
military way.

We cannot be indifferent towards the policy the neighboring state
follows. The authorities of Armenia and Artsakh have made many
statements on the impermissibility of the dissemination of hatred and
militant rhetoric. The people of Artsakh have gone through all the
hardships of war and are fully conscious of the price and importance of
peace for our region. However, it does not mean that we are not ready
to repel any aggression of the enemy.

As to the Armenian-Turkish relations, this complex and multilevel issue
touches upon both political and economic spheres and to a great extend
depends on some historical and psychological factors, which exercise
influence on political reality and developments.

In any case it is very much clear that any shift in the
Armenian-Turkish relations must not and cannot be implemented to the
prejudice of the Karabakh conflict settlement. Any attempts to
interconnect these two issues lying in different realms will definitely
lead to an impasse.

Another important issue that touches upon both the settlement of
Artsakh issue and the Armenian-Turkish relations is orderliness and
unity of our people.

Today we are much more obliged to have a united front to address issues
of pan-national importance and assess the situation. This must be so
not only by words and viewpoints, but also by our united and joint
approach and towards solving issues we face. That is true for Armenia,
for the Diaspora and for Artsakh. We need work that will unify the
whole potential of the Armenian people thus creating firm foundation
for our struggle.

From this very viewpoint we rate high the undertaking of the Armenian
Revolutionary Federation to hold this pan-Armenian conference in
Artsakh, where we steadily strengthen the independence reached at the
cost of numerous victims and much hardship. On this path we have
already gained great and small victories standing behind either
successes or the issues still to be solved.

Only unity, deep comprehension of national goals and priorities it will
be possible to overcome difficulties and neutralize the threats we face.

I am confidant that combining efforts of Armenia, Artsakh and the
Diaspora we will be able to solve all problems, build and make
prosperous our two Armenian states and create worthy future for the
generations to come."