Hovhannisian Speaks at Anti Terrorism Conference


YEREVAN (Yerkir)– "Unlike the rest of the world–where countries unite based on a common economy to form common markets–the Trans Caucasus has surrounded itself with an inaccessible wall–and I confess that no one in Armenian society believes that Azerbaijan will ever reopen the railway or any other roads. We do not even need it now because Armenia has managed to develop economically and move on–while Turkey and Azerbaijan continue to blockade the country," Vahan Hovhannisian–chairman of the National Assembly’s Defense–Internal Affairs and National Security Committee and ARF Bureau member stated at a two-day conference on ‘The Struggle Against Terrorism: Prospects for Regional Cooperation in the South Caucasus.’ Held in Yerevan–the conference is organized by the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in conjunction with the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.

Hovhannisian divided threats in the Caucasus into two parts: internal–the people’s disappointment in independence–obstacles for economic development–and external–foreign interference in the problems of the Caucasus. Hovhannisian also said that another key factor that maintains permanent tension in the South Caucasus is that many leaders of the region’s countries do not clearly understand what real independence and sovereignty are.

"It is especially seen in neighboring republics; all violent confrontations that have shaken South Caucasus for the last ten years were the result of this fact," he said.

"The ruling elite in Azerbaijan have so far not realized that Nagorno-Karabagh–as a part of Azerbaijan–was a Soviet phenomenon–and if there is no Soviet Union–this phenomenon should not exist. Azerbaijan should cope with it. But Azerbaijan continues to voice aggressive declarations against Armenia. Azerbaijani elite keep its people in a militant hysteria–and this echoes dangerously in Armenian society," he added.

Regarding Georgia–Hovhannisian said it–too–could not manage to get rid of internal conflicts that permanently keep the country in tension. "However–the relations between Armenia and Georgia can be an example of how two nations–despite their edgy ethnic and social tensions–have coped with their hardships and maintain friendly relations–something that does not exist in Azerbaijan."


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