WASHINGTON—In an address delivered at a Congressional ceremony celebrating the 23rd anniversary of Artsakh’s independence, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Parliament Speaker Ashot Ghulyan said that the only way to guarantee lasting peace in the region is the recognition of Artsakh’s independence by the international community.
“In the current situation the only way of establishing a longlasting peace and stability in the South Caucasus is the international recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic de facto independence andthe provision of international security guarantees,” said Ghulyan.
“In Nagorno-Karabakh Republic we know the price of independence and the price of security and peace for the people that struggled for it. Once Franklin D. Roosevelt reminded the American people that: ‘Every period is a dying dream or a dream that is going to be born’. Nowadays in our region the sense of that philosophy is nothing else but a struggle for freedom against tyranny. The liberation of Artsakh from the tyranny of Azerbaijan was a dream that became a reality. Having a free and independent state was a dream that has also became a reality. And the new generation of Artsakh also has its own dreams: that is the vision of becoming a legitimate part of the community of civilized nations where we can freely and fully express our identity within that diversity,” added Ghulyan.
Below is the complete text of Ghulyan’s remarks at the Congressional celebration of Artsakh’s independence:
Dear Members of Congress,
Honorable Ambassador Sargsyan,
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am glad for this opportunity to meet with you again, and on behalf of the people and authorities of the Artsakh Republic, I want to express my appreciation and gratitude to the organizers of this celebration Artsakh’s Independence: the Congressional Armenian Caucus and all the structures supporting them.
In our contemporary world, the United States of America is rightfully perceived as country that pioneered the ideals of freedom and not only has it become the country that it is today based on those ideals, but to this very day continues to play a crucial role in the overall establishment and protection of human rights and freedoms, and democratic set of values. It would be quite strange, if the Americans the bearers of the spirit of freedom did not understand the ideals of freedom in the other spots of the world.
It is with a similar spirit that 23 years ago, on December 10, the people of Nagorno Karabakh, being in the most difficult situation due to the collapse of the USSR, made its legitimate choice and reinstated through a nationwide referendum the already proclaimed independence of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The establishment of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic has gone through a very difficult and painful path: Stepanakert, the capital city of Artsakh and many other settlements, were being heavily shelled and bombarded for months, thousands of people were subjected to violence that escalated into a blatant military aggression by Azerbaijan. However, the people of Artsakh succeeded in protecting their right to freedom and decide own future, acting in line with all the norms and principles of the international law.
In February, 1988 the people of Artsakh were the first in the Soviet reality to raise the flag of freedom, were the first to struggle for their rights. Until 1991, we were waiting for a peaceful and just solution to the issue. It with regret that I have to note, that the Soviet central government was not receptive towards the legitimate and natural demands of the people of Nagorno Karabakh, and Azerbaijan unleashed a large-scale war in response. And the peaceful population was chosen as the target.
The consequences of the war are well-known: it is the reality we have. For my people the past two decades marked the efforts towards elimination of consequences of the Azerbaijani aggression, restoration of the economy and infrastructure; democratization of the state governance and formation of civil sector, spiritual and cultural revival.
Speaking about the elimination of the consequences of war, people of Artsakh always remember the allocations the US Congress authorizing since 1998. The assistance, which is possible due to tireless efforts by our Congressional friends – members of the Armenian Caucus, allows to implement a number of targeted programs giving solutions to pressing issues. The people of Nagorno Karabakh, are deeply grateful to the congressmen and the friendly people of the US.
The people of the Artsakh Republic highly appreciate and are inspired with the continued political support demonstrated by the legislatures in various states across the USA (namely Rhode-Island, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Maine and California) in the form of resolutions in support for the right to self-determination and democratic independence of our people.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We would not exaggerate if we say that our country faces unique challenges: despite permanent threats of renewed aggression by Azerbaijan, the existing difficulties caused by blockade, we, however, were steadfast in our political will to reform the state governing system.
The Referendum on Adoption of the NKR Constitution of December 10, 2006, has become the culmination of the road behind. It is yet another manifestation of my people’s will to live in freedom and sovereignty,… manifestation expressed in constitutional terms that made the independent of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic an irreversible fact.
In Artsakh, we remain firmly committed to the democratic values. And even in conditions of constant attempts to isolate the NKR from international processes, various international human rights organizations (such as Freedom House) and experts pointed at strengthening of the democratic traditions in our republic.
May 2015 we are having the regular parliamentary elections, and we will be happy to receive observers from the United States.
The people and authorities of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic highly appreciate the mediation efforts of the United States as a Minsk Group co-chair country. We support a fair and peaceful settlement to the conflict, which, unfortunately, is not adequately perceived the opponent. Moreover, year after year we witness a significant increase of hatred towards everything Armenian, and bellicose rhetoric which has become a state policy of Azerbaijan.
Azeri leadership spares no effort to undermine the negotiation process. Vivid examples were the dangerous escalation of tension and repeated ceasefire violations in July and August this year along the line of contact, as well as the international border. Another example was the downing of an Artsakh Defense Army Air Force helicopter during a training flight near the line of contact several days ago, on November 12, 2014.
We strongly believe that the abovementioned developments are conditioned by the upright disregard of Azerbaijan towards the commitments taken when accessing to international structures, in particular, the all-permissiveness of uncontrolled military build-up, the widespread violations of human rights throughout own country, and the inadequate reaction of international structures to all those developments, which caused a false sense of impunity in Baku (in Azerbaijan).
In this situation we consider that the only way of establishing a long-lasting peace and stability in the South Caucasus is the international recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic de facto independence and the provision of international security guarantees.
In Nagorno-Karabakh Republic we know the price of independence and the price of security and peace for the people that struggled for it.
Once Franklin D. Roosevelt reminded the American people that: «Every period is a dying dream or a dream that is going to be born». Nowadays in our region the sense of that philosophy is nothing else but a struggle for freedom against tyranny.
The liberation of Artsakh from the tyranny of Azerbaijan was a dream that became a reality.
Having a free and independent state was a dream that has also became a reality.
And the new generation of Artsakh also has its own dreams: that is the vision of becoming a legitimate part of the community of civilized nations where we can freely and fully express our identity within that diversity.
And no matter how difficult and unpredictable are the ways of God, we know that success is an award for those who strive and struggle.
We do strive and struggle in Artsakh.
And we are guided by Law, perseverance and faith.
And may God protect and lead us.