STEPANAKERT—The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Artsakh Republic is working hard at promoting the international recognition of the country’s independence, peaceful settlement of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh, attracting foreign investments to the Artsakh economy, as well as strengthening of Artsakh-Armenia-Diaspora cooperation. Karen Mirzoyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nagorno Karabakh, discussed the republic’s foreign policy priorities with the European Times. The European Times has also published an entire series featuring Artsakh, which includes interviews with multiple ministers. The European Times’ full interview with Karen Mirzoyan is below.
EUROPEAN TIMES: What are the current priorities for the ministry?
KAREN MIRZOYAN: Our current main goal is to achieve the settlement of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh. The restoration of a full-fledged negotiation format with immediate and direct participation of the NKR in all its phases is very important: the absence of one of the main parties to the conflict at the negotiation table makes it difficult to achieve any real progress.
The efforts of the NKR Ministry of Foreign Affairs are aimed also at reinstating the positive tendencies towards the recognition of the NKR.
Another key goal is to maintain good bilateral relations with other countries, especially those with Armenian Diaspora.
E.T.: How has Nagorno Karabakh recovered from the war to position itself as an investment target?
K.M.: The Nagorno Karabakh economy was totally destroyed during the war and we started its restoration from zero.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Karabakh people, as well as to the support of our compatriots outside, the NKR economy gradually began to restore and now it has strong potential for investments. Nagorno Karabakh has drawn major foreign investment in the mining industry, I.T. and agriculture.
The investors are attracted by our skilled working force and open, liberal investment environment.
E.T.: What are some of your current infrastructure projects?
K.M.: We are currently building a strategically important highway, connecting the town of Martakert in Karabakh with the town of Vardenis in Armenia, which should be completed by the end of next year.
The completion of Stepanakert airport will also offer additional investment attractions and give a strong impetus for tourism development in the country.
E.T.: What do you want potential investors and visitors to know about Nagorno Karabakh?
K.M.: Karabakh is not only the name of the country. It is also the name of the people, living there, people who struggled for their freedom and independence.
Some say that Nagorno Karabakh is where Europe ends; we say it is where Europe begins.