The Executive Director of LINKS, Dennis Sammut answered questions by the Azerbaijani web portal 1news.az regarding the presidential elections held on Thursday in the self declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
The following is the full text of the interview:
Question: In your opinion, what consequences may these “elections” have on further process of NK conflict resolution? And will the figure of new “leader” have any impact on that? What impact and why?
DS: These elections are important because they express the way that the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh want to organise their life. There is no major difference in the position of the three candidates on the issue of resolution of the conflict so the impact on the negotiations will be negligible. On the other hand in Nagorno-Karabakh there are several social problems that the candidates are offering different solutions for.
Question: Lots of observers will monitor “the elections”, including those from the OSCE co-chair countries. Isn’t it the violation of the international law to monitor “the elections” in unrecognized territory?
DS: None of the major international organisations or established NGOs are monitoring the elections. This is because it is considered impossible to hold elections in the present conditions where a big part of the population, mainly of Azerbaijani ethnicity, has been displaced by the conflict. So legitimising these elections with international monitoring is not correct. Some people have decided to ignore this issue and monitor the elections regardless. They do not represent their countries, and in many instances not even their political parties or organisations. I do not think they are breaking any law. They are just not being wise.
Question: Foreign Ministries of Azerbaijan and Turkey, as well as EU and NATO have blamed the fact of holding “elections” in “NKR” saying they interfere with the negotiation process and only consolidate status-quo. Do you think that there is enough attention of international community to “NKR” elections, and it is thought enought?
DS: The position of the international community has been stated very clearly, including in the statement of the European Union issued yesterday. I do not think any further action is required. Everybody understands what these elections are, and what they are not. Armenia and Azerbaijan and the international community should remain focused on the issue of resolving the conflict peacefully in the framework of the negotiations that have been going on for many years.
source: LINKS Press office