Lachin Will Never be Returned to Azerbaijan, Says Ghoukasian

LACHIN, Nagorno-Karabakh RepublicDuring celebrations marking the 15th anniversary of the liberation of Lachin, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Arkady Ghoukasian said the strategically important corridor linking Armenia with Karabakh would never be returned to Azerbaijan. Dont believe the tales that Lachin will be returned to Azerbaijan.I will never happen. We liberated this territory not to return it. We must reconstruct and develop Kashatagh (Lachin), said the president. The governmen’s of Karbakh and Armenia will always focus on Lachin. It is our duty to reconstruct all the territories that we liberated, added Ghoukasian during his message at the celebration. In other territorial news, Vasily Nalbandyan, the head of the administration of Shahoumian region, in an interview with Karbakh Open discussed what he called the Armenization of the Shahoumian region, which until the end of the Karabakh war was occupied by Azeris. The activities foreseen by the government are aimed to fulfill our greatest goal, which is to have this area recognized as liberated land not occupied territories, and it is necessary not only to resettle these territories but also to revive the Armenian spirit there. The first thing we do we build schools, where the Armenian alphabet is taught, said Nalbandyan We build 40 houses a year in accordance with the government program. We also have a 40 percent natural growth of the population. Our region is young, the average age is 24-26, and the rate of youth exceeds that of other regions. Aside from building houses and schools, the government makes every effort to provide the population with employment. Our employment level is at 80 percent, explained Nalbandyan. We have 16 villages. Another is under construction. The communities have electricity. We have a shortage of teachers. I hope this problem will be solved because every year 14 to 18 students from our region get financial aid at Artsakh State University, said Nalbandyan. Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Masis Mailyan declared Tuesday that the main problem is that today Azerbaijan is not ready to recognize the right for self-determination and independent development of our people. The Deputy Foreign Minister was reporting to a visiting delegation of Oxford University students and faculty who arrived in Stepanakert. The international community has realized that despite being unrecognized, the Nagorno Karabakh Republic is a full-fledged state and is developing, said Mailyan. Speaking about the conflict resolution process, the Deputy Minister said the cease-fire was the most important achievement of the negotiations. He noted that the talks were trilateral and featured Nagorno Karabakh between 1992 and 1997, while today only periodic meetings take place between the official representatives of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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