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South Caucasus


Georgi Vanyan
Interview Day.Az with the chairman of Caucasus Center of Peace-Making Initiatives Georgi Vanyan

What can you say about Armenia's non-participation in the international conference of the Culture Ministers of the CE states on "Intercultural dialogue as a basis of sustainable development and peace in Europe and neighbor regions", despite the invitation of Azerbaijan?

It is a pity that Armenia was not represented in this conference in Baku. Unfortunately, official Yerevan did not enter the open door and did not appreciate this step of Azerbaijan once again. The opening and immediately closing doors are the symbol of the Armenian-Azerbaijani dialogue. I think, the decision not to visit Baku is not a personal intention of the Armenian Minister of Culture.

This proves the absence of the political will of the senior leadership of the country. I regret that the political leadership of Armenia still yields to the recently growing speculative hysteria about the "cessassion of territories" or "trading around Karabakh".

What do you think about the statement of ISESCO director Abdulaziz bin Osman al-Tuveyrji that ISESCO supports the idea of sending a mission to Nagorno Karabakh for the purpose of monitoring of historical monuments?

Armenian party must not only allow but create all conditions to hold a monitoring even if the results of this mission will be the documenting of facts, disgraceful for us.

But here let me express my own point of view regarding the monitoring of historical monuments, issue of compensations to refugees and IDP and overall humanitarian problems, in the context of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

Unfortunately, through many years the attention of our communities and the world community has been concentrating on the problems, after the settlement of which we must finish the conflict resolution. We are trying to do it from the end.

Do our countries and our societies have the healthy political climate and freedom of speech, free press and civil institutions, which may analyze the cause-effect ties of the facts of barbarism and inhumanity, subjugating them to their idea of reconciliation and prevention of such barbarism? Or perhaps, such studies, motivated by general values, will further promote the deepening of confrontation? Until there is no political solution, no mutually profitable plan of solution, the results of monitoring, studies, investigations and conclusions become just a part of war between our peoples and countries.

I have spoken many times about the social order for peace, that it is necessary to join efforts to gain a status of a civil party of the conflict and not remain in a state of war, that we must turn the conflict resolution into a priority, see our national interest in resolution. Perhaps, only in this issue, we, both Armenia and Azerbaijan, will be able to speak the same language and equally with the world community, get rid of the complex of the "made used of" and "offended". How is it possible? Such a review of approaches is possible only if there is a will of the leadership of our countries, the will, which is probably seeking for support within the communities, and here the role of each of us, claiming for being peacekeepers, is significant here.

Do you consider that intensification of the visits of the Armenian delegations to Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani to Armenia will help establish trustful resolutions between the representatives of our peoples and will promote the resolution of the Karabakh conflict?

As I have already said we are now at war and not settling the conflict. Therefore, we live in the kingdom of stereotypes, myths and legends, which revive the image of an enemy and strengthen our own bellicose image in our conscience. What do we have for today Periodical visits of several Azerbaijanis, who attend international projects in Yerevan, more seldom in other cities of Armenia and almost never in Nagorno Karabakh. At the same time, while visiting Armenia, Azerbaijanis are obliged to adhere to the previously announced programs and are completely deprived of the right for free movement and communication. Such visits are either not covered inm the press, or become a cause for the next campaign of "tolerance" in Armenia and as a result, set the campaign "down with betrayers" in Azerbaijan. Though, there are some exceptions, when in some "lucky" cases, Azerbaijanis manage to become "national heroes".

In any case, the law of war turns out to be stronger and the small seeds of peacekeeping planted owing to the civil courage and real patriotism of our Azerbaijani counterparts, are growing in the souls of separate people, without changing the overall background. Azerbaijan has been closed for Armenians for already many years. If Armenian delegations start visiting Baku this is a great breakthrough and a ground to get rid of the stereotypes, though there is no guarantee that the same mechanism of information war will not work here.

The issue is why we visit each others? I want to visit Baku, want to visit the whole Azerbaijan, want to see and feel your country and get rid of the humiliation of a person, who is unable to break the wall in front of him. I also want an Azerbaijani, who arrives in Armenia, to be free of the humiliating weight of distrust and senseless enmity. We need to visit each others freely in order to get rid of mutual humiliation and regain the dignity, which we lost at war and without which we are unable to settle the conflict.

Which obstacles hinder Armenia and Azerbaijan to build the dialogue and take steps towards each other?

I want to visit my home, the home of my grandfather in Karachinar village, where, if I am not mistaken, a family from Khojaly, the village, which we, Armenians, have ruined, live. They revive the house of my grandfather. I want to see this house, the garden, to sit there and have a talk. I want to look into their eyes and answer all their questions. There are thousands of people like me. I want to believe that the place of my birth - Azerbaijan- is not closed forever for me.

I want to visit Fizuli with Seymur Baijan. There is no Fizuli and no his paternal house. I want to go there and sit with him on the ruins... There are no obstacles. But tomorrow, in the future, when we are not alive, there will be obstacles.

Beyond Azerbaijan and Armenia, the representatives of our peoples are not only friends, but also create families. Doesn't it prove that the enmity between Azerbaijanis and Armenians is created artificially by Russia, which does it to meet its imperialistic and geopolitical interests?

I have already spoke much about Russia. It was spoken of not only by me. It is senseless of question the very existence of imperialistic and geopolitical interests, but it is also senseless to subdue to them. The way out of this slavery lies in our direct dialogue.