On 8 March President of the Artsakh Republic Bako Sahakyan partook at the "17 years past the 1994 ceasefire: what has achieved Nagorno Karabagh today?" conference held in the French Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies and delivered there a speech.
The Head of the State touched upon the history of the Artsakh problem, the Azerbaijani-Karabagh conflict settlement, state building process in Artsakh as well as issues related to international recognition of the NKR and its foreign policy.
Speaking of the history of the issue Bako Sahakyan noted that Artsakh was among the provinces of historical Armenia and had always played an important role in the history of the Armenian people for a long period of time being the last fragment of the independent Armenian statehood and epicenter of the national-liberation movement. The President considered the year of 1918 as the beginning of the Karabagh issue when a state named Azerbaijan, which that never existed in history before, was formed in Transcaucasus with the immediate involvement of the Ottoman Turkey. Since the very first moment of its formation this new state put territorial claims before all the neighboring countries aiming to create a land border with the Ottoman Turkey and form a Pan-Turkish state. President Sahakyan underlined that the act of annexing Artsakh to the Soviet Azerbaijan carried out by the Caucasian Bureau of the Bolshevik Party was directed to spreading Bolshevism in the East.
Touching upon the Azerbaijani-Karabagh conflict settlement Bako Sahakyan underlined that the official Stepanakert stands exclusively for peaceful solution of all the questions with Azerbaijan through immediate dialogue noting at the same time that it does not mean that Artsakh is not ready and committed to defend its independence and security if necessary. According to the Head of the State anything that can weaken Artsakh's independence and security is totally unacceptable. These values are exclusive for our people and are not subject to any speculations. The President considered the destructive stance of Azerbaijan, its extremist and belligerent anti-Armenian policy, carried out on the highest state level, as the pivotal obstacle in the negotiation process. President Sahakyan underlined that it was necessary approach the negotiations realizing the impossibility of returning to the past and vanity of any approaches based on preconditions.
Talking about the issues related to state building activity carried out in the country the President noted that the formation of the independent Artsakh statehood, based on the principles of independence, sovereignty and democracy, fully corresponded to the fundamental principles and norms of the international law. According to Bako Sahakyan our people's will, their intellectual potential, optimism and diligence, powerful and efficient army being the main guarantor of the country's security as well as permanent assistance of the Republic of Armenia and the Diaspora are at the heart of all achievements the NKR registered so far.
Speaking of the international recognition of the NKR the Head of the State noted that although it is closely interrelated with the Karabagh conflict settlement they are different processes. According to Bako Sahakyan it could be thought that our republic will gain international recognition only following the settlement of conflict. However, it can be said just as well that the conflict will be settled after the international recognition of Artsakh. The President mentioned that developments of the late years demonstrate that settlements of the similar conflicts go exactly in such a way, with Kosovo, Abkhazia, South Osetia and South Sudan being the striking examples of that. The Head of the State underlined that the Nagorno Karabagh Republic deserves to be full and equal member of international community from political, legal and moral viewpoints. "During the two decades of its existence the Artsakh Republic succeeded in building a democratic, steadily developing country threatening no one. Such a state cannon be denied in international recognition", concluded the President.
After the speech Bako Sahakyan answered the questions raised by the attendees.
Primate of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to France Vigen Chitechyan, NKR minister of culture and youth affairs Narine Aghabalyan, head of the Central Information Department of the Artsakh Republic President's office David Babayan, NKR permanent representative to France Hovhannes Gevorgyan and other officials partook at the event.