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Country Reports-Karabagh

The following two reports, on Karabagh and Armenia, were submitted as part of an assignment in Barlow Der Mugrdechian’s Armenian Studies 10, Introduction to Armenian Studies course.

By Mitch DeFreitas

Karabagh is a country located between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Middle Eastern part of Asia. In this paper, I am going to present to you several news stories about what has been happening recently in Karabagh. Most of these stories have something to do with the Karabagh conflict.

Karabagh-1The Karabagh conflict is basically a dispute between Armenia, Karabagh, and Azerbaijan over who Karabagh belongs to, Armenia or Azerbaijan? This is a major issue in Karabagh and almost all of the news articles there are somehow related to this conflict. The articles I chose to report on are from the past few weeks and they all involve things that I found interesting. They also all affect some aspect of the daily life of the citizens of Karabagh.

Recently on February 20, 2001, Karabagh celebrated the thirteenth anniversary of the Karabagh movement. There was a ceremonial reception at the Nagorno Karabagh Republic National Assembly in which the movement’s activists attended. The parliament speaker attended and expressed his gratitude of the president and of the NKR authorities on the work that the movement has accomplished so far. The activists were also given souvenirs and flowers from the parliament speaker on behalf of the government.

Also on February 20, 2001, the NKR government had a meeting in Martakert that discussed two very important topics involving the growth and development of Karabagh. These two items were reported on from the head of the Martakert Regional Administration on the growth and development that occurred in 2000 and the projected growth and development for 2001. The report stated that with the assistance of humanitarian organizations and the All-Armenian Fund, the rates of construction had increased greatly in the Karabagh region. He stated that repairs were made on 508 houses and 25 medical institutions. Also, eleven communities were given a water supply and many other problems were resolved. He also stated that a water pipeline from Khachen to Martakert is slated to be finished sometime in the spring. The outlook for 2001 included development of all kinds and an improvement in social and domestic conditions for the population.

Two other news stories that I found interesting and that involved the Karabagh conflict, were the report of Azerbaijan opposition leaders calling for war against Karabagh and the need for safety programs to be implemented because of the danger of land mines.

The head of the Azerbaijan opposition party and several retired military officers called for a new war against Karabagh. Isa Gambar, who is the chairman of the Musavat Party, stated that a war with Karabagh was the only way to solve the Karabagh conflict. Three former Azerbaijan defense ministers also stated that they were convinced that the best way to solve the conflict was through using military means, or in other words, war. The Union of Retired Officers also felt the same way. They recently told the government that they needed to send more soldiers to Turkey for training and to also increase the spending on defense in order to gain a military solution to the conflict with Karabagh.

On February 22, 2001, a major announcement was made involving the Karabagh conflict. A peace plan for the Karabagh conflict was made public in both Armenia and Azerbaijan. It comes at a time when the movement towards solving the conflict is gaining strength. This proposal, which was written by the Minsk Group of the OSCE, provides for a common state to be created between Karabagh and Azerbaijan. Under a common state plan, Karabagh would have a loose confederation with Azerbaijan and would also have de facto independence. Karabagh would be recognized as a republic, have its own constitution, armed forces, and power to veto legislation. Even though both the Armenian and Azerbaijan presidents might not agree on this particular plan, they are said to agree on most of the basic principles of it. There is also said to be another peace plan in the works that might appear in the near future.

The new plan is said to be a revision of the current plan but details of it are still unknown. Even though this isn’t a solution to the conflict, it is a major step in solving the Karabagh conflict.

These were a few of the major news storied over the past two weeks that took place in and involve Karabagh. As you can see, the Karabagh conflict is a major issue there because until it is resolved, Karabagh will not exist as its own country. Even though improvements are being made all the time and new construction continues in Karabagh, the conflict still affects all aspects of their lives. Hopefully these few stories provided you with enough information to see what is currently going on in the country of Karabagh.