Bako Sahakian: "Azerbaijani refugees can return if they recognise the jurisdiction of the Artsakh Republic"
29 March 2018

The president of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has spoken about the conditions under which tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis displaced by the conflict in the 1990s can return. 

In an interview with the newspaper of the Armenian diaspora in the United States, the Armenian Mirror Spectator, Bako Sahakian said, (using the term Artasakh Republic for Nagorno-Karabakh):

The situation of refugees in the region is often raised in international circles. Sahakyan said, "At present, it is Azerbaijani refugees that are chiefly talked about. We naturally are in favor of talking not only about Azerbaijani refugees but also about Armenian refugees." Sahakyan declared, concerning Azerbaijanis who used to live in Artsakh and who may wish to regain control of their properties, "We have said on multiple occasions over the course of recent years that Azerbaijani refugees naturally can return to Artsakh, to the Artsakh Republic, if they recognize its jurisdiction."

He said that while no such applications have occurred so far, "if such applications take place, we will process them in accordance with the delineated norms and laws and present our conclusions and answers."

The entire Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabakh was displaced during the conflict in the 1990s. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, sometimes referred to in Armenian sources as the Artsakh Republic is not recognised by any state, and the territory is still considered as part of Azerbaijan by the international community. political editor said in a comment that the issue of the return of the displaced Azerbaijanis back to Nagorno-Karabakh is one of the most difficult in the process of negotiating a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Bako Sahakian has spoken about this in the past, but his choice of words introduces some nuances which no doubt will be hotly discussed. For Azerbaijanis recognising the jurisdiction of the de facto Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is unacceptable, which is why no one has returned."

source: with the Armenian Mirror Spectator.

photo: The adminsitrative building of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.