13:51, 03 Dec 2014

"The establishment of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic has gone through
a very difficult and painful path," Speaker of the National Assembly
of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Ashot Ghulyan said at the Capitol
Hill celebration of the 23rd anniversary of Artsakh's independence.

" Stepanakert, the capital city of Artsakh and many other settlements,
were being heavily shelled and bombarded for months, thousands of
people were subjected to violence that escalated into a blatant
military aggression by Azerbaijan. However, the people of Artsakh
succeeded in protecting their right to freedom and decide own future,
acting in line with all the norms and principles of the international
law," he added.

"In February, 1988 the people of Artsakh were the first in the Soviet
reality to raise the flag of freedom, were the first to struggle for
their rights. Until 1991, we were waiting for a peaceful and just
solution to the issue. It with regret that I have to note, that the
Soviet central government was not receptive towards the legitimate
and natural demands of the people of Nagorno Karabakh, and Azerbaijan
unleashed a large-scale war in response. And the peaceful population
was chosen as the target," Ghulyan said.

"The consequences of the war are well-known: it is the reality
we have. For my people the past two decades marked the efforts
towards elimination of consequences of the Azerbaijani aggression,
restoration of the economy and infrastructure; democratization of
the state governance and formation of civil sector, spiritual and
cultural revival. Speaking about the elimination of the consequences
of war, people of Artsakh always remember the allocations the US
Congress authorizing since 1998. The assistance, which is possible
due to tireless efforts by our Congressional friends - members of the
Armenian Caucus, allows to implement a number of targeted programs
giving solutions to pressing issues. The people of Nagorno Karabakh,
are deeply grateful to the congressmen and the friendly people of
the US," the Speaker noted.

"The people of the Artsakh Republic highly appreciate and are inspired
with the continued political support demonstrated by the legislatures
in various states across the USA (namely Rhode-Island, Massachusetts,
Louisiana, Maine and California) in the form of resolutions in support
for the right to self-determination and democratic independence of
our people."

"We would not exaggerate if we say that our country faces unique
challenges: despite permanent threats of renewed aggression by
Azerbaijan, the existing difficulties caused by blockade, we, however,
were steadfast in our political will to reform the state governing
system. The Referendum on Adoption of the NKR Constitution of December
10, 2006, has become the culmination of the road behind. It is yet
another manifestation of my people's will to live in freedom and
sovereignty, manifestation expressed in constitutional terms that made
the independent of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic an irreversible fact,"
Ashot Ghulyan said.

"In Artsakh, we remain firmly committed to the democratic
values. And even in conditions of constant attempts to isolate
the NKR from international processes, various international human
rights organizations (such as Freedom House) and experts pointed at
strengthening of the democratic traditions in our republic. May 2015
we are having the regular parliamentary elections, and we will be
happy to receive observers from the United States," he added.

"The people and authorities of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic highly
appreciate the mediation efforts of the United States as a Minsk
Group co-chair country. We support a fair and peaceful settlement to
the conflict, which, unfortunately, is not adequately perceived the
opponent. Moreover, year after year we witness a significant increase
of hatred towards everything Armenian, and bellicose rhetoric which
has become a state policy of Azerbaijan," the Speaker said.

"Azeri leadership spares no effort to undermine the negotiation
process. Vivid examples were the dangerous escalation of tension and
repeated ceasefire violations in July and August this year along the
line of contact, as well as the international border. Another example
was the downing of an Artsakh Defense Army Air Force helicopter
during a training flight near the line of contact several days ago,
on November 12, 2014. We strongly believe that the abovementioned
developments are conditioned by the upright disregard of Azerbaijan
towards the commitments taken when accessing to international
structures, in particular, the all-permissiveness of uncontrolled
military build up, the widespread violations of human rights throughout
own country, and the inadequate reaction of international structures
to all those developments, which caused a false sense of impunity in
Baku (in Azerbaijan), the Speaker said.

He noted that "in this situation the only way of establishing
a longlasting peace and stability in the South Caucasus is the
international recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic de facto
independence andthe provision of international security guarantees."

"In Nagorno-Karabakh Republic we know the price of independence and
the price of security and peace for the people that struggled for it.

Once Franklin D. Roosevelt reminded the American people that: 'Every
period is a dying dream or a dream that is going to be born'. Nowadays
in our region the sense of that philosophy is nothing else but a
struggle for freedom against tyranny. The liberation of Artsakh from
the tyranny of Azerbaijan was a dream that became a reality. Having a
free and independent state was a dream that has also became a reality.

And the new generation of Artsakh also has its own dreams: that is the
vision of becoming a legitimate part of the community of civilized
nations where we can freely and fully express our identity within
that diversity," the Speaker said.