Presidents meet in Sochi, agree on 'preamble' of Karabakh agreement

Russia -- Presidents of Armenia (R), Russia (C) and Azerbaijan (L) discuss Karabakh resolution in Sochi, 25Jan2010

Armenian President Serzh Sargsian met with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliev in Sochi today with the mediation of Russia’s President Dmitri Medvedev. The meeting ended in an agreement on the preamble to Karabakh deal.
“”Today, the main result was the agreement, which although we have some parts of the document that are not object of mutual consent, all the sides will prepare their concrete proposals, their concrete wording of all these parts, which will be worked into the text,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after the meeting, adding, that the presidents have agreed on the ‘preamble’ of the Karabakh agreement. Continue reading “Presidents meet in Sochi, agree on 'preamble' of Karabakh agreement”

Robert A. Bradtke replaces Mathew Bryza as US co-chairman at OSCE Minsk Group

Next OSCE Minsk Group US Co-Chairman Robert A. Bradtke, Photo via RFE/RL
Next OSCE Minsk Group US Co-Chairman Robert A. Bradtke, Photo via RFE/RL

Everyone’s ‘favorite’ OSCE Minsk Group co-chairman Mathew Bryza will probably stop revealing to the media details of Karabakh regulation process, only to come out the next day to say he was misquoted and misunderstood again. Robert A. Bradtke will replace Bryza on that post. The official State Department Statement says:
Continue reading “Robert A. Bradtke replaces Mathew Bryza as US co-chairman at OSCE Minsk Group”

The 'correct' and 'incorrect' maps of Armenia and Karabakh

The 'correct' map of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh
The 'correct' map of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh
The 'incorrect' map of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh
The 'incorrect' map of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh

I came across today a Facebook group which, according to its description, is “dedicated to the promotion of using correct maps of Armenia and Artsakh.” The group’s description further runs:

When using or displaying a map of Armenia, Artsakh should not be left out! They are Armenian lands that should be properly included into every single map published. We live there, we govern it, we liberated it and therefore it is an integral part of the Armenian world.

With rather detailed descriptions, the group further explains the use of the terms ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’ maps, saying the ‘correct’ one should “show Armenia and Artsakh as united” and not depict Karabakh “as an enclave, which is not the case.” Continue reading “The 'correct' and 'incorrect' maps of Armenia and Karabakh”

Karabakh negotiations. What happened in Moscow?

Moscow_Negotiations
High level talks on Karabakh conflict resolution concluded on July 17th and July 18th in Moscow. Armenian and Azerbaijani sides didn’t comment much. The OSCE Minsk group mediators sounded disappointed, even if they tried to accurately conceal that with phrases like “very open discussion took place” and “there was no progress, but there was not step back either”.
It seems like the reason for failure in progress was Armenia’s stance. There was a serious backlash in Armenia following the release of Madrid principles by the Presidents of OSCE Minsk group co-chairing countries at the G8 meeting in Italy.
Calls demanding resignation of Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian and reversal of policy on Karabakh by ARF-Dashnaktsutyuniun, criticism from Karabakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, were followed by Nalbandian’s statement, which made clear, that there is hardly any point in the upcoming negotiations in Moscow.
Interestingly, it seemed from the side, that much of this halabaloo on the Armenian side was carefully staged by the authorities ahead of the negotiations. It seems there was pressure on them and they needed this backlash to adopt a more hardline stance.
The question than remains – why all this circus? Why don’t they just say – we don’t need no negotiations?

21 Years Since The Start of Karabakh Movement

On February 20, 1988 a decision was adopted in the extraordinary  seesion of Nagorno-Karabakh region’s Council of People’s Deputies to present a petition to the government bodies of Azerbaijani and Armenian SSRs to hand over the NKAR to Armenia.
The maps below via Pigh illustrate the situation on this date, which marked the start of the Karabakh Movement and today.

 

Today is Karabakh's Independence Referendum and Constitution Day

In connection with the anniversary of the NKR State Independence Referendum and the Constitution Day NKR President Bako Sahakyan has issued a congratulatory address to the citizens of the republic, where he has noted: “On very day in 1991 our people officially sealed their will to form free, independent and sovereign state. And it was not a coincident that 15 years later on this very day of 2006 the people of Artsakh once again expressed their resoluteness to further strengthen and develop independent statehood and on a nation-wide referendum adopted the basic of the country – the NKR Constitution. It has marked the irreversibility of our state policy to build democratic country, our commitment to the follow international norms and integrate with the civilized world.”
Remarkably, the tiny Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is often much more advanced in terms of democratisation, basic freedoms, culture to hold referendums and elections, than either Armenia or Azerbaijan, which assume the responsability to speak about the future status of Karabakh.
Joining in with my congratulations to the people of Karabakh, I want to also share my vision: the only way for Karabakh to remain independent and become internationally recognized, is to pursue further reforms and improvement of its fragile democracy. The only way, for Armenia to attain greater moral weight in speaking on behalf of NKR, is for Armenia to overcome its major problems with democracy and human rights, which were especially visible this year as a result of 2008 Presidential elections and the violence that followed afterwards.
PS: Coincidentally, today is also the International Day of Human Rights.

A very important stage of Karabakh negotiations

Armenia’s foreign minister Eduard Nalbandian has said negotiations over Nagorno-Karabakh have entered “a very important stage.” But Nalbandian has stressed, that a lot depends on preparadness of Azerbaijani authorities to demonstrate political will for solution.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will host the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia on Sunday for talks over Nagorno-Karabakh
Nalbandian said that after Sunday’s meeting, Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian will head to France for talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy on the Karabakh conflict.
Along with the United States, France and Russia are cochairs of the OSCE’s Minsk Group which is seeking to resolve the conflict.

My Big, Fat, Armenian Wedding! …in Karabakh


An unprecedented wedding ceremony, which married 675 new couples, took place in Nagorno-Karabakh Republic on October 16. The ceremonies took place in St. Ghazanchetsots church of Shoushi and ancient Gandzasar monastery of Martakert. The Karabakh wedding, followed by a solemn dinner and issuance of wedding certificates and wedding gifts in Stepanakert’s republican stadium, was implemented with the initiative of Russian businessman of Karabakh descent – Levon Hairapetyan, who was also the main sponsor of the event.
The couples were presented ‘golden’ banking cards with $2500 worth of AMD on the balance for each new family to spend. The beneficiaries have also thought about future children: following the birth of the first child the family will receive $2000, the second child – $3000, third child – $5000, fourth – $10,000, fifth – $20,000, sixth – $50,000, seventh – $100,000. That’s plenty of reasons for 675 children to be born in Artsakh next year – 2000 reasons starting from the first child 😉
The fact is – Karabakh has a serious population problem, and similar steps are the surest way to tackle it. Earlier this year Hetq published an article which adds another dimension to this story:

All this commotion is not only the result of the planned collective wedding event but also due to the government’s program unveiled in January of this year that calls for providing gifts of 300,000 drams to newly wed couples. To this end the Karabakh government has earmarked 450 million drams out of the 2008 state budget to be allocated to some 1,500 couples. However, it is already apparent that the number of couples that will register to get married this year will exceed this number. This became clear back in April when figures at the NKR National Statistical Agency showed the number of couples registering for marriage at 1,887. This compares to 224 couples during the same period in 2007. Interestingly, a portion of these 1,887 couples have already gotten hitched but the marriages were never properly registered in order that they are able to take advantage of the government’s largesse. In 2007 there were 519 marriages registered in Karabakh and 827 in 2006.

Apart from ensuring record number of marriages and most probably – a boom in next year’s child birthrates, this event will also serve the important purpose of establishing long-lasting relationships between donors and Karabakhis – given the fact, that the beneficiaries of the event are also becoming Godfathers for the newly formed families. No wonder, that the President of Karabakh Bako Sahakyan spoke on the event stressing it’s importance for the country. Overall – this has been the best piece of news I’ve heard so far this year.

Photos via: 517design

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