More on the Armenian-Azerbaijani debate
Emil Sanamyan

Dear Sir,

Two letters (by Adil Baguirov and Saida Mammadova) recently published in the Diplomatic Traffic`s Debate section are copy-paste examples of the Azerbaijani state propaganda designed to misrepresent and obfuscate the past and present of Nagorno Karabakh.

The facts are these: In 1988, the native Armenian population of Karabakh peacefully petitioned the then Soviet Azerbaijan government for separation. The Soviet Azerbaijani response was brutal pogroms against ethnic Armenians in Azerbaijan and Soviet government-enforced crackdown and violence against the population of Karabakh.

When in 1991 the people of Karabakh overwhelmingly voted for independence in a referendum, Azerbaijan launched a full-scale war that led to massive suffering on both sides and eventually resulted in Azerbaijan`s defeat and a cease-fire agreement of 1994.

Since then the government of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR) has been ready to resolve all outstanding issues with Azerbaijan in direct negotiations. The United Nations resolutions, frequently cited by Azerbaijan, are addressed to both sides of the conflict, and must be dealt with through directs talks.

Unfortunately, since 1997 Azerbaijan has repeatedly refused to negotiate with NKR and Baku`s dictatorial rulers exhibit wanton disregard for international norms and welfare of their own citizens. Those individual Azerbaijanis who attempt to engage in pro-peace initiatives with individual Armenians or even question the government`s anti-Armenian hate rhetoric are branded as traitors, harassed and even murdered.

Instead of looking beyond the conflict and towards peace, the Azerbaijani government focuses its energies on anti-Armenian propaganda and actions, with some officials going as far as to threaten to wipe out all Armenians. Without a proper condemnation of these policies, both by Azerbaijanis themselves and the world at large, a lasting Armenian-Azerbaijani peace is unlikely to break out.

Sincerely,

Emil Sanamyan
Arlington, VA