NKR leader denies rumours of changes in Karabakh government

Ayots Ashkhar, Yerevan
6 May 06 p 5

Text of Lilit Pogosyan's report by Armenian newspaper Ayots Ashkhar
on 6 May headlined "The potential of the diaspora is not used in full"

An interview with the president of the Nagornyy Karabakh republic,
Arkadiy Gukasyan.

[Ayots Ashkhar correspondent] Mr President, are you pleased with the
work of the Ayastan All-Armenian Foundation and how do you assess
the effectiveness of the work carried out within the framework of
the Revival of Artsakh [Karabakh] programme?

[Arkadiy Gukasyan] I am pleased and displeased at the same time. I
am displeased because expectations are always greater. I am sure
that the diaspora and its powerful organizations could have given
greater support to Karabakh. What's more, I think that we really have
a problem with the quality of our work. I think that the foundation
should exercise stricter control over the work that has been carried
out. But in general, our programmes are continuing and we hope that
the quality of our work will improve year by year.

[Correspondent] Do you think it necessary to replace the leadership
of the foundation?

[Gukasyan] It is up to the council of trustees. I cannot raise such
a problem. I think such a problem exists and it should be solved.

[Correspondent] Mr Gukasyan, has a national tax idea been instilled in
our society so that every year every Armenian donates a small amount
of money for the implementation of pan-national goals?

[Gukasyan] The national tax idea has always been discussed. I think it
is possible. I think we need authoritative people who would explain
the national tax idea to our compatriots from the diaspora and to
Armenians of Armenia and Karabakh. If they understand it, I am sure
the idea will come true.

[Correspondent] Rumours have it that radical changes will take place
in the government of the Nagornyy Karabakh republic.

[Gukasyan] Such rumours are simply ridiculous, first of all because
they do not come from Karabakh. There is no such problem on our
agenda today.

[Correspondent] There was a commentary on [Azerbaijani President Ilham]
Aliyev's visit to Washington saying that Aliyev became a political
star because he passed messages from Iran to America and back and
that he will "swallow" Karabakh soon.

[Gukasyan] I can suppose that some people want that. Or maybe Aliyev
himself wants to present the situation in this way. I do not think it
is worth taking these rumours seriously. As for the Karabakh conflict,
you know that the talks are continuing although I do not think that
we have come closer to a final settlement of the conflict.

[Correspondent] But there is a view that in July the parties will
be forced to sign a preliminary agreement on the main principles of
the settlement.

[Gukasyan] I have also heard such rumours. Of course, we do not rule
everything out and we want a compromise acceptable to everybody to be
found as soon as possible. But nobody can say if it will be in July,
August or February.

You know that the negotiating process is moving forward slowly. There
are many participants in that process and their interests do not
always coincide because every party has its own position, and it is
really difficult to combine everyone's interests and expectations.