Georgian politicians and experts on Karabakh conflict
Military action in the region: for three days there has been mass fighting in Karabakh. Numerous casualties have been reported.
What does this conflict mean to Georgia? Georgian politicians and experts comment regarding the situation in the region.
Mikheil Saakashvili, third president of Georgia
“Nagorno-Karabakh has always been a sovereign territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and nothing will change that”, writes Mikheil Saakashvili on Facebook.
He dedicated a large post to the Karabakh conflict.
“My position is perfectly clear. It is based on the principle of territorial integrity of a state. Nagorno-Karabakh is a sovereign territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and nothing will change that. Naturally, everyone who has been evicted from the region has the right to return home, and those already living there, have the right for a peaceful life, and their rights must be protected”, writes Saakashvili.
Mikheil Saakashvili says Georgia is interested in amiable relations between the three Caucasus states.
“Our future must be like the relations between the three Baltic states, and only external forces are interested in dividing us and governing, and we shouldn’t give them this possibility!”.
Irakli Sesiashvili, member of the parliament majority, chairman of the Defense Committee
Irakli Sesiashvili says that Georgia is ready to get involved in peaceful negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, if the sides wish so.
“In any direction, we are ready to provide humanitarian aid and cooperation, if that’s the wish, and, naturally, will do so in the format of international relations”, stated Sesiashvili.
Paata Zakareishvili, conflict scientist, former State Minister of Georgia
“Both Armenia and Azerbaijan should know that Georgia can’t take any one side”, says Zakareishvili.
He says that so far Georgia has been acting rather appropriately:
“We should clearly and explicitly say that we have two strategic neighbors: Turkey and Azerbaijan, but we have really good neighborly relations with Armenia. That’s why both Armenia and Azerbaijan should know that Georgia can’t take any one side. They must understand that Georgia is the only country in the region that has no interest in the confrontation, except for peace. Any step we make towards supporting anyone will only destabilize the situation even further, and I think, they understand it well”, said Zakareishvili.
He says this conflict will not directly affect the territory of Georgia.
“If the confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan grows into a larger regional conflict, it means that the conflict will go beyond the borders of Karabakh, closer to Georgia, but I’m almost certain that it won’t directly affect the territory of Georgia”, said Zakareishvili.
He says the subject of Karabakh “is only discussed somewhere in offices” in Georgia.
“Unfortunately, this discussion is not conducted directly in the National Security Council, as we don’t really have a National Security Council, it doesn’t function”, says the expert.
The former State Minister thinks that confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan will last four to five days.
Tengiz Pkhaladze, expert on international relations issues:
Tengiz Pkhaladze says that if the armed confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Karabakh develops into a full-fledged war, this will be an apocalyptic scenario for Georgia.
He says that Georgian authorities should discuss all possible event development scenarios and define its future steps regarding relations with neighbor countries in the current situation.
“Conflict escalation only damages Georgia’s national interests in all directions. This is true for military, economical, energy security, etc”, says Pkhaladze.
He mentioned that Georgia can offer itself to both sides as a country for conducting negotiations.
“First of all, Georgia must study and evaluate the problem, a session of the National Security Council must already be in process, to review all possible scenarios that can possibly develop in the current situation, and plan what we will do. We should also have communication on this issue with the leaders of these countries, this is very important, though not only with them, but in general, with the international community. Also, we can simply offer Georgia, if necessary, as a place for conducting negotiations. It is possible to take many other steps in this situation”, said Tengiz Pkhaladze.
Sergi Kapanadze, member of Parliament, member of the opposition party “European Georgia”
Kapanadze says that it is important that Georgia’s position on the Karabakh issue supports peace.
He says that in case of a war, a scenario unfavorable for Georgia can develop.
“It is important that our position supports peace, prevention of a higher escalation, otherwise everyone has to understand, I don’t know who will win this war, but Georgia might lose”, says Kapanadze.
Teona Akubardia, military expert, member of the political movement “Aghmashenebeli Strategy”
Akubardia calls on the government to convene a session of the National Security Council. She considers that it is necessary to evaluate what threats events in Karabakh can bring for Georgia.
“It is necessary to guarantee regional peace in the country and it is necessary to retain partner relations with both countries, as required by cooperation and our legislation”, says Akubardia.