CAUCASUS PEACE CAMP: the role in Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorna Karabakh conflict

Caucasus Peace Camp was held on the 4-10th July 2011, in Europa Park, Rust, Germany. The aim of the Youth Peace Camp was to engage young people and youth organisations from conflict-struck regions in dialogue and conflict transformation activities based on human rights education and intercultural learning and to provide them with a positive experience in living and learning together. This Camp brought together 18 young people from conflict and post-conflict zones, including Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Abkhazia and Moldova. The organizers of the Camp was National Youth Council of Russia, Directorate of Youth and Sport of the Council of Europe and European Youth Foundation.


Accordingly to its aims Caucasus Peace Camp tried to bring together young people from conflict regions and create a peaceful society among them. We know the conflicts between Armenia-Azerbaijan, Russia-Georgia, Georgia-Abkhazia. But during the sessions of the camp political issues were not discussed. There was no dialogue between Armenian and Azerbaijani delegation or Russian and Georgian delegation. I think that, the main purpose of the Camp was to show young people from the conflict regions living together and understanding each other. Caucasus Peace Camp achieved its main goal, but it was not effective in the peaceful settlement of conflicts. Because the sessions of Camp were far away from the political discussion and there was no research work about the sides of the armed conflicts. But this Camp proved that peace is possible in every case, even in the armed conflicts.

As a participant from Azerbaijan, I felt sure that Azerbaijanas a state and as a society is ready and desired for the peace. The war is the right of Azerbaijanfor setting free its occupied 20 % territory and this right is supported by the international treaties such as the chartes and conventions of the international organizations (the UN, the OSCE, the CoE and etc.). The territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan were recognized by the all of the states of the world and by the UN, the OSCE, the CoE, the BSEC and other international organizations. The territoryof Azerbaijanis 86.600 km2 and this territorial integrity is inviolable.

During the project, on the 7th of July 2011, the participants of Youth Peace Camp project which was held in Strasbourg, France on 2-9th July, visited Europa Park, Rust, Germany and we have a joint day together. One day later, on the 8th of July the participants of the Caucasus Peace Camp visited the Council of Europe and theEuropeanYouthCenter inStrasbourg,France. During the interactions with the participants of the Youth Peace Camp we discussed the reasons of armed conflicts and settlement ways. The participants from the Serbia, Israel and Kosovo were more interested in the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorna-Karabakh conflict and their main questions were as the followings:

–          How much Azerbaijan is desired to peace?

–          If Armenia continues not to agree with Azerbaijani side, does the war is possible?

–          Will Azerbaijan make concession through its territorial integrity instead of peace?

–          If the war begins, does Azerbaijan use the arm against civilians in the Nagorna-Karabakh?

–          It is clear that Azerbaijan has a great military potential and Azerbaijan can easily get back it is territories. But after this will Azerbaijan invade the area ofArmenia?

First of all, Azerbaijan is a sole country that, even its 20 % territory was invaded by the aggression state, Azerbaijan always is the supporter of peace in the region and integration between the states of the region. But the war is possible. Because, Azerbaijanhas right to free its occupied territory. Azerbaijan government declares that if Armeniadoes not agree with the peace and withdraw its armed troops from the occupied Azerbaijani territory then Azerbaijanwill use its right to set free its own territory from the foreign invaders. Azerbaijanwill never agree with a compromise which related to give a part of it is area to Armenia. The Armenian president S.Sarkisyan again makes idle talk about the conflict. He said to the young people of Armeniathat we occupied Nagorna-Karabakh 20 years ago, now it is your duty to occupy Agri dag which is the historical area of Turkey. And the reply from the Azerbaijani side was that Azerbaijanwill never give a span of its territory, Azerbaijanwill restore its sovereignty over Nagorna-Karabakh through either peace or military operations. If we begin to the military operations to get back our occupied territories no civilians will hurt in Nagorna-Karabakh. Because there are some difference between Armenian and Azerbaijani military forces. First of all, Azerbaijani military forces will never use arms against civilians, but Armenia used it during the First Karabakh war and committed genocide against Azerbaijani turks who lived in Khojali on the 26th February 1992. The Republic of Azerbaijan ensure all of civil people living in its area that their life and good living conditions are the most important things in the governing of state and during the war. The other difference betweenArmenia andAzerbaijan is thatAzerbaijan is not an invader state. We will use our military force only to get back our territory, we will never occupy the area ofArmenia because we are witnessing of this fact during the last 20 years.  Azerbaijan is always ready to establish good relations with the region countries.

Despite the war endures 20 years, but the settlement in Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorna-Karabakh conflict is more simply than we can imagine. There is a fact in this conflict:Armeniaoccupied 20 % of Azerbaijan territory. And there is only one way to achieve peace: Armenia must withdraw its troops from Nagorna-Karabakh and surrounding regions and Azerbaijan must restore its sovereignty over Nagorna-Karabakh and surrounding regions.

After this we can speak about the peace.

by Tural Isgandarov


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