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‘Azeris are a Very Good People’: Sergei Harutyunov

Nagorno-Karabakh must be declared a self-governing territory, a condominium of Azerbaijan and Armenia, so that a supreme power there is through commissioners appointed by Baku and Yerevan. Perhaps for a certain period, with the presence of a Russian mediator. But the commissioners have to display good will and not argue, and always agree with each other, said professor, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and head of the Caucasus Department at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology Sergei Harutyunov speaking to Vesti.az about his solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

According to him, his suggestion is not new — such a system was adopted in Melaneisa, now the Republic of Vanuatu, but formerly known as New Hebrides. France and the UK claimed parts of the country, but then agreed to jointly managing the South Pacific island through a British-French condominium. (It is now an independent republic.) Another example of such an arrangement was Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (a condominium of Egypt and the UK).

Harutyunov agrees with the idea that Armenia categorically rejects any Azerbaijan presence in Nagorno-Karabakh, noting that Armenians are no less stubborn than Azeris in this issue. “But Azerbaijani authorities are not inclined to recognize the rights of Armenia to exercise its influence in Nagorno-Karabakh. But there are Armenians living there. Of course, those Azeris who were forced to flee from there should have the right to return to their homes. I believe that in this case, no preference should be given to any ethnic group in Karabakh — they must have equal rights and equal opportunity.

“I have seen how two nations live together peacefully in both Baku and Tbilisi, and Yerevan. Now too I have many Azeri friends. In addition, the person to whom I — twice — owe my life to is an ethnic Azeri. He is Sabir Bagirovich Faradzhev, whose memory I keep faithfully. You see, there are no bad nations, just bad people. All nations are good. There are simply good and very good nations. I believe that Azeris are a very good people.

“In Armenia, in the Yeghegnadzor region, there is a village called Getap, and a little further up the river is an Azeri village. I have worked in those villages and I know about friendship with particular people. Judge for yourself. A guy from the Azeri village decided to marry a girl from Fizuli. So he sent her three matchmakers — two Azeris and one Armenian resident from Getap. How can there be more trust than this? That’s how it was. And then those people who were close friends suddenly began to avoid each other. And soon the Azeris left Armenia,” he said.