History of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Artsakh)
Artsakh (Karabakh) is an integral part of historic Armenia. During the Urartian era (9-6th cc. B.C.), Artsakh was known as Urtekhe-Urtekhini. As a part of Armenia Artsakh is mentioned in the works of Strabo, Pliny the Elder, Claudius Ptolemy, Plutarch, Dio Cassius, and other ancient authors. The evident testimony of it is the remained rich historic-cultural heritage. After the division of Greater Armenia (387 A.D.), Artsakh became part of the Eastern Armenian kingdom, which soon fell under the Persian rule. At that time, Artsakh was a part of the Armenian marzpanutyun (province), then, in the period of Arabic rule, it was part of Armenia kusakalutyun (region). Artsakh was part of the Armenian kingdom of Bagratids (9-11th cc.), then - part of Zakarid Armenia (12-13th cc.). In following centuries, Artsakh fell under the rule of various conquerors, remaining Armenian and having a semi-independent status. Since the mid-18th century the invasion of Turkic nomadic tribes to the north of Karabakh began, which led to clashes with local Armenians. During this period, the five Armenian melikdoms (Hams) are memorable which had reached the peak of their prosperity and power in the late 18th century. At the end of the Russian-Persian War of 1804-1813 and by the Gulistan treaty of 1813, Artsakh-Karabakh was annexed to Russia.
Current stage of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
The current phase of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began in 1988, when in response to the self-determination claims of NK population the Azeri authorities organized massacres and ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population on the entire territory of Azerbaijan, particularly in Sumgait, Baku and Kirovabad. On December 10, 1991 NK population declared the establishment of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR) by plebiscite, which fully complies with both international law norms and the letter and spirit of the USSR laws of that time. Thus, on the territory of the former Azerbaijani SSR two equal state formations were created - Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and the Republic of Azerbaijan. In Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas populated by Armenians the policy pursued by Azerbaijani authorities turned into overt aggression and large scale military actions against the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, which resulted in tens of thousand deads and caused considerable material damage. Azerbaijan never heeded the international community appeals, particularly the United Nations Security Council resolutions relating to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict calling to stop military actions and conduct peaceful negotiations. Because of the war Azerbaijan occupied the whole region of Shahumyan, and the eastern parts of Martakert and Martuni regions of Nagorno-Karabakh. Neighboring districts went under the control of Nagorno-Karabakh armed forces, which played a role of a security buffer to block the further firing from the Azeri side towards Nagorno-Karabakh settlements. In May, 1994 Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia signed a ceasefire, which, despite violations, is still effective. Conflict settlement negotiations are held in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, USA, France). In the last decade, several options for the settlement proposed by the co-chairs were rejected by Azerbaijan. The last was "Paris Principles" in 1991 which were summed up in the Key West document. Currently, negotiations are held on the basis of the Madrid proposals represented by co-chairs in November, 2007. *** Despite the negotiations held within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group which is the only internationally mandated format on conflict settlement, and the agreement to carry out negotiations within the Minsk process, Azerbaijan, distorting the nature and main reasons of the consequences of the conflict, takes attempts to involve other international organizations in the settlement and initiates parallel processes hindering the negotiation process and having campaign objectives especially in the UN GA and the Council of Europe, too. Azerbaijan's aggressive bellicose campaign also puts under question Azerbaijan's desire, statements, assumed obligations and their seriousness aimed at compromise settlement. Azerbaijan continues sending money from oil revenues to increase the military budget and to the acquisition of large number of offensive armaments, grossly violating a number of agreements and obligations in the sphere of security and political-military sphere. In fact, Azerbaijan fails all the economic, political, military and humanitarian initiatives aimed at strengthening trust between the parties. Particularly, Azerbaijan rejects the offer of the Armenian side on regional cooperation and the offer of the Minsk Group to pull out snipers from the contact line.
Position of Armenia on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Armenia believes that the improvement of the peace process efficiency is impossible without full participation of the conflict party Nagorno-Karabakh in the negotiations. Armenia believes that the conflict settlement should be based on the following principles: Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement must be based on recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh people's right to self-determination; Nagorno-Karabakh should have uninterrupted land communication with Armenia, under jurisdiction of the Armenian side; the security of Nagorno-Karabakh should be internationally guaranteed. Adoption of these principles and contractual stipulation will enable achieving a comprehensive settlement of the problem. Armenia attaches importance to the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process, as a viable format for the settlement which has enough potential to find ways of settlement. Armenia seeks a settlement exclusively through peaceful means. Azerbaijan's attempts to get unilateral concessions by the threat of use of force are not only doomed to failure from the beginning, but also continue to be the main obstacle for the settlement through compromise. Nagorno-Karabakh has no future as a part of Azerbaijan and whatever is the solution, it must emanate from the will of the Karabakh people. That is the essence of the right of peoples to self-determination. Azerbaijan has neither legal nor political or moral grounds to claim over Nagorno-Karabakh.