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Journalist Matthew Collin visited Karabakh on behalf of Al Jazeera English-language TV based in Doha, Qatar.

His balanced report, posted in Al Jazeera.net on 05 February 2010, shed light on the situation on ground and the expectations of the people of Karabakh.

In the village of Khramort, few kilometers from the frontline, Collin met local Armenian laboror Armen Grigorian, father of four. 

"After going through a war, there's no fear in us anymore, and even if fighting did start again, where could we escape to?" Grigorian said from a location that overlooked the abandoned city of Aghdam.

Aghdam remains a symbol of conflict between Azerbaijan and Karabakh. It was one of the cities captured by the Armenians after fencing off an earlier Azerbaijani attack on Karabakh in the early 1990s, immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union.  

Grigorian was firm in his view expressed to the Al Jazeera journalist that there is no possibility for Armenians and Azerbaijanis to live together in one place. "Remember the history when we lived together, there was war," he emphasized. "If we live together again, sooner or later, there will be war again, so of course its better this way," he explained.

Collins met also Karabakh soldiers monitoring the borderline. One of the young soldiers Rafik Melkonian summarized his role by saying: "Our mission is to defend the borders of our homeland, protect families, and stop our enemies moving forward."

After describing the situation on ground, Collin mentioned in his article the tension that was risen recently following the hostile statements made by President of Azerbaijan. Ilham Aliyev has acknowledged that Azerbaijan is channeling billions of dollars from oil income to buy weaponary that would be used against Karabakh. This money would have been better served if used to fund development projects for the refugees. 
 
Georgi Petrosian, Karabakh's Foreign Minister, said to Al Jazeera journalist: "We managed to stand up and find the strength in ourselves to declare our independence and defend our freedom in much more difficult situations than the one we're in today."

He assured that if fighting did resume, the Karabakh military would again be backed up by Armenian troops.

At the end of his report Collin visited Stepanakert, the captial of Karabakh, a city rebuilt with financial support from Armenia and the diaspora. Minister Petrosian said it was time to move forward from survival to development. "Time is irreversible," he declared. "You can't turn back the clock."

Photo by Matthew Collin

See full article "Nagorno-Karabakh tension fester" in Al Jazeera.net here.


Posted on Friday, February 05, 2010 (5729 reads), comments: 0
 
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