12, 2021

The Karabakh war has never been a religious war. Armenia has wonderful relations with many Islamic states. Interview of President Armen Sarkissian to Arab News

Arab News, the leading English-language Middle East daily based in Saudi Arabia, published an exclusive interview with President Armen Sarkissian.
Below is the translation of the interview related to the issue of Nagorno- Karabakh.

Faisal Abbas: I have a few questions about Azerbaijan, but there is another question about perceptions and reality. People may not talk much about it here, but there is a perception in the Middle East, perhaps, spread by Turks or Azeris, that this is a religious war.

President Sarkissian: It has never been a religious war. Armenia has wonderful relations with many states where Islam is a major religion. The Azerbaijani side sometimes likes to use this description to accumulate support from Islamic world, but Armenia never tried getting support from the Christian states in this way, as the conflict was not of a Christian or religious nature.

Faisal Abbas: However, the international community seems to have recognized Karabakh as belonging to Azerbaijan. The OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation), and the Gulf region, are all interested in peace. What are your expectations from the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) or the OIC, and how can they help resolve this conflict?

President Sarkissian: I expect the support of all our friends, whether in the Gulf, the Middle East or Europe, in bringing the conflict to a logical conclusion.

Faisal Abbas: What logical solution do we see?

President Sarkissian: As I mentioned, 26 years ago, the Armenian side won, but in some way, we could not use our victorious position to establish a final peace. Of course, the rights of the people who live in Nagorno-Karabakh, who have lived there for thousands of years, must be taken into consideration. At the end of the war, there are still many feelings, wounds, and unresolved issues related to demarcation and delimitation, as well as other issues, including, of course, the future of the people living in Nagorno-Karabakh. There is an internationally recognized body, the OSCE Minsk Group, with its co-chairing countries. I think we should return to the negotiating table. The new reality is that Russia has a great influence in the region, as it brought a ceasefire; it supports both Armenia and Azerbaijan on the border, in terms of demarcation, delimitation and resolving other problems. Russian peacekeepers are in Nagorno-Karabakh today. I cannot say that this issue has found a final solution. Only time will tell what the final solution will be. I think that any decision that will be final must be logical. A solution that will be acceptable to both parties. Any solution that is forced cannot last long.



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