Ghoukassian Says Building Democratic State is Priority

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–In an interview with Russian-language Golos Armenii–President of Nagorno Karabakh Arkady Ghoukassian said that the role of the Armenian Diaspora in helping to restore Karabakh economy is increasing daily. He says that the complicated domestic situation in Karabakh in the post-war period was a major constraint to attract the financial and other potential of Armenia’s living in Diaspora.

"Now we are doing everything possible to use the potential of our ex-patriots for social-economic rise of Karabakh," he says.

As a non-recognized country Karabakh is not eligible to receiving loans from the international lending organizations–and this is why it needs the money of Armenia’s to move ahead–Ghoukassian says–adding that they have improved the legislation to an extent that it poses no hindrances for anyone who wishes to start a business there. Armenian money from Switzerland–Australia–Russia–US–France–Lebanon–Canada Russia and other countries are working today in Karabakh.

In response to a question whether he is ready to pardon the former defense minister Samvel Babayan–who is serving a long-term prison sentence for a failed assassination attempt on Ghoukassian–the latter says it is the parliament that decides on amnesty. He dismisses allegations that keeping Babayan in prison creates difficulties for achieving a national accord. "In any case only a person who repents can be pardoned," he says.

Ghoukassian also says that the ultimate goal of Karabakh remains its international recognition–but building a democratic state and civil society is no less important.

Ghoukassian also expresses his satisfaction that the number of people who arrive in Karabakh for permanent residence is three times bigger than the number of people leaving it. "There is a clear tendency for increase of the population–but the realization of the resettlement plan is an expensive plan and our modest budget will not stand it. This is why we expect the assistance of our compatriots," he says.

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