ArmInfo. Artsakh Foreign Minister, Artsakh presidential candidate Masis Mayilyan in an interview with ArmInfo comments on the latest processes around the negotiations, the prospects for resolving the Artsakh conflict. He shares some of the plans created by the "Mayilyan - New Artsakh" election bloc as well as his own vision of the future Artsakh.
- The last meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Geneva, as you know, consisted of two rounds and lasted about 11 hours. At the same time, the ministers agreed to meet again in the near future under the auspices of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. What, in your opinion, is this intensification of the process talking about? Is it possible to say today that the parties have already switched to substantive negotiations or is it just discussing the creation of the conditions necessary for their resumption?
As we have repeatedly noted, full-fledged substantive negotiations are possible only with the full participation of official Stepanakert at all its stages. We regard the meetings and discussions held between Yerevan and Baku as consultations in order to maintain the dynamics of the peace process, which, ultimately, should lead to the resumption of full-scale negotiations of Artsakh-Azerbaijan-Armenia.
- According to the information distributed by the press secretary of the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anna Naghdalyan, following the results of the talks in Geneva, the Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan during the talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov stressed the need to involve the elected representatives of Artsakh in the settlement process. Do you consider this a necessary precondition for the continuation, and most importantly, the successful completion of negotiations?
The positions of the Republic of Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia on the issue of returning representatives of official Stepanakert to the negotiating table, as well as in the process of peaceful settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict, coincide. At the same time, to be precise in the wording, it should be noted that Artsakh's participation in the negotiations is not a precondition: the Armenian authorities emphasize that they will speak only on behalf of the Republic of Armenia, and its elected authorities should speak on behalf of Artsakh. The authorities of the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh are taking consistent steps to increase the role of Stepanakert in the peace process. The return of Artsakh authorities to the negotiating table is not a whim, but a requirement of the logic of the settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict.
- The April war of 2016, in a sense, was quite expensive for its initiator, Azerbaijan. Over the past three years, Yerevan and Stepanakert have raised the issue of the need to ensure the physical security of the Artsakh people in front of the mediators from the OSCE Minsk Group and the international community as a whole. In this light, does it seem possible to ascertain the collapse of Azerbaijan's "military diplomacy" and, if so, how is this reflected in Baku's negotiating positions today?
The so-called "military diplomacy" of Azerbaijan was initially doomed to failure and has no prospects either today or in the future. After the April aggression in 2016, the Armenian parties categorically rejected the attempts of Azerbaijan to combine the peace process with the escalation of tension on the contact line of the armed forces. Today Baku is forced to accept this position, although at times it expresses bewilderment why it is impossible to simultaneously conduct negotiations and military operations on the border. I am convinced that the final realization by the Azerbaijani authorities of the futility of this strategy will be an important step on the road to peace.
- In your opinion, should we expect a change in Baku's position in resolving the Artsakh conflict after the change of power expected in Azerbaijan? After all, having become president, Mehriban Aliyeva, in all likelihood, it will be necessary to present at least some progress to the Azerbaijani society around the conflict, of course, in its own understanding.
The positions of the Azerbaijani side on the settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict as a whole maintain continuity, regardless of who is in power in Azerbaijan. In the event of a change of power in Azerbaijan, certain changes in the position of Baku are possible, but they will most likely remain in the outline of the general strategy, which was not initially constructive.
- On January 29, the "Tomorrow Artsakh", "Identity and Unity" and the Artsakh Liberal Party announced the creation of the electoral bloc "Mayilyan-New Artsakh". Prior to this, other Artsakh social and political forces declared your support. You have to lead the proportional list of the alliance during the parliamentary elections. Vision of what new Artsakh can you and is going to offer the forces supporting you?
The created block of parties will become a powerful incentive for vigorous and decisive activity aimed at the broad consolidation of the healthy forces of society with the aim of discussing and adopting programs of fundamental reforms. As a result of the reforms, we will jointly provide a safe, secure, reliable, fair, civilized and democratic future. This is our vision of New Artsakh.
- Almost all of your competitors in the upcoming presidential election are people from the past, who occupy the highest political posts in the republic at different times. You are considered the only candidate for the future, which in the light of the relatively recent change of power in Armenia gives you additional chances to win. What vicious phenomena of the past should not be in Artsakh of the future, and what changes do the Artsakh people strive for today, what is their request, expectations from the authorities?
According to our political team, the main requirement of our citizens is reform. Our political team does not act from extreme positions, but is a supporter of fundamental transformations. It is the desire for qualitative changes in public administration that united the members of our political team. We accept the achievements recorded since 1988 in the search for a better future for our people, the experience of our struggle and confrontation, respect our past, but we also draw the necessary lessons from the shortcomings and gaps that took place for objective and subjective reasons, and we fix our eyes on future. In a different way and impossible, state building and development is a sequential process, and stopping at any point is fraught with the threat of stagnation. The quality of power must inevitably be brought into line with the challenges and opportunities of the time, the development trends of the modern world. It is for this purpose that our efforts to unite the advanced layers of society are directed. A specific reform program will be presented to voters within the time period prescribed by law.