Step By Step: Uruguayan official’s visit signifies “new stage” in Karabakh recognition policy

The so-called Step by Step technology which has been used in promoting the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide now seems to be successfully used in the international recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR).

Chairman of the House of Representatives of Uruguay Jorge Orrick visited Nagorno-Karabakh this week where he met with NKR President Bako Sahakyan. Head of the Information Department of the Presidential Administration of Karabakh David Babayan said: “The meeting was held in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The sides discussed cooperation between the two countries.”

After the meeting Babayan said that it signified the beginning of a new stage in Karabakh’s foreign policy. “We are interested in developing relations with other countries and it is not conditioned by other issues, in particular, those related to recognition. Recognition is a key issue on Karabakh’s foreign policy agenda, but it is not an obsession,” said Babayan.

In fact, Karabakh has set out to improve relations with other countries without requiring recognition. Though, good relations and economic ties are the best way of recognition. And the visit of such a high-ranking official of Uruguay is already a recognition of sorts.

The Foreign Ministries of the two Armenian states believe that friendly relations with foreign states will contribute to a peaceful and just settlement of the Karabakh conflict and prevention of a new war.

According to Karabakh’s presidential spokesman Babayan, the NKR President noted during the meeting with the visiting Uruguayan official that the relations between Karabakh and Uruguay in various fields should be brought to a new level.

After the meeting, Uruguay Parliament Foreign Relations Committee member Ruben Martinez Huelmo and head of the parliamentary group of the Armenian-Uruguayan friendship at the Armenian National Assembly, ARF Bureau member Vahan Hovhannisyan talked to the media.

Hovhannisyan reminded of a seminar hosted by Uruguay last year during which
Uruguayan Minister of Foreign Affairs Luis Almagro expressed the view that the process of the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh could enter a natural channel. “This is a process that should be carried out step by step. The visit and the meeting are the first steps that should be continued,” stressed Hovhannisyan.

“A visit to Artsakh does not require particular courage, that’s just a step. We have friendly relations with the Armenian people,” said Huelmo.

Uruguay was the first country to recognize the Armenian Genocide in 1965. Responding to the question whether the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh by Uruguay was possible, Huelmo said: “In theory yes. But this is a political process that must be carried out step by step. All steps need to be put in a set and presented as arguments to the political forces.”

In May, while visiting Yerevan, Uruguayan Foreign Minister Almagro said that “Nagorno-Karabakh is closely linked with Armenia and this is the future of Karabakh that it can choose exercising its right to self-determination.” There were reports that he would also pay a visit to Karabakh, but he didn’t.

The recognition process, however, is underway. The legislatures of the U.S. states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts already passed resolutions calling on the U.S. President and Congress to support the self-determination and independence of Nagorno Karabakh.

In October, the Australian state of New South Wales followed suit.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation and Hay Dat committees have been conducting active work on the recognition of the NKR and developing its ties with other countries. It was through the efforts of this traditional Armenian party that this year Karabakh was visited by parliamentarians of France, Switzerland and other countries.