Karabakh Army Can Defend Borders Says Ghoukassian

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Nagorno-Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian–in an interview with Radio Liberty discussed the results of his meetings with Levon Ter-Petrosyan in connection with the latter’s recent declaration on the Karabakh conflict.

To a question about whether the different approaches of Armenia and Karabakh to the issue hinders the eventual peace settlement–Ghoukassian said–"In a sense yes–because the mediators have two opinions on how to settle the issue–and they are trying very hard to implement these in a very easy manner–however the problem lies in the fact that they try to do it between Armenia and Azerbaijan." According to the president–this poses a serious problem because the actual implementation of any program will be done by Karabakh.

Ghoukassian said that Armenia’s mediating position is indeed disrupting the process. If a solution is reached–however–he said–then it would be most effective if it were between Karabakh and Armenia.

"Suppose that Azerbaijan and Armenia reach a compromise solution–what will happen next? Armenia cannot and will not force Karabakh to accept anything–because we have not given Armenia the right to decide our fate," stressed Ghoukassian.

Ghoukassian said he believed that everyone wanted an easy way out–yet–he said–the easy way out is not necessarily the best way out. "A political solution is fine–only when that solution can be implemented through political means–otherwise it will lead to war–because force will be used to determine and implement this or that solution," asserted Ghoukassian.

According to the leader–today there is not a legal piece of paper stipulating the cease-fire and there are no peace keeping forces in the region. The only measurable component is arms control and at any moment war can break out.

On the issue of compromise–the journalist asked Ghoukassian in return for Azerbaijan’s promise to grant maximum autonomy within its border to Karabakh–what compromises is the Karabakh leadership willing to make. Ghoukassian categorically stressed that self-determination and government is an international right–and that is what Karabakh will have. As for compromises–Ghoukassian said that Karabakh’s will depend on Azerbaijan’s cooperation in the issue.

Ghoukassian emphatically stated that there will be no compromise on Karabakh’s existence within Azerbaijan. It simply will not happen. Karabakh will never agree to that and it is only Karabakh’s population who has the right to determine its own fate.

Ghoukassian also said that Karabakh is ready to defend its borders and its people.

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