By George Bournoutian

STEPANAKERT — Between February 17-19 an international gathering of historians, political scientists, international lawyers and government officials took place in Stepanakert for a conference dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the independence of NKR. Emil Sanamyan of the Armenian Reporter and myself were invited from the US.
Most of the conference took place in the well-equipped main hall of the National Assembly of NKR with simultaneous translation provided in Russian, English and Armenian. Participants came from Artsakh, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Armenia, United Kingdom and Greece.
Mr. Sanamyan presented his paper on “The Karabakh Conflict in the Context of National Issues,” and I gave a talk on the “1823 Russian Population Census of Karabagh as the Basic Argument Against Azerbaijan’s Historical Claims.” Both Mr. Sanamyan and I were also invited to speak to the students at the University of Stepanakert.
Among some of the three dozen interesting papers presented were “The Kosovo Precedent and the International Recognition Perspectives of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic,” by Khachik Galstyan; “Legal-Political Analysis of the 1993 UN Security Council Resolutions on Nagorno-Karabakh by Hovhannes Nikoghosyan, “Statehood Criteria in Contemporary International Law: Their Application and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic,” by Levon Gevorgyan; The Nagorno-Karabakh Issue in the Context of International Law,” by Shahen Avagyan; two papers on “Karabakh and the American Great Middle East Project,” by Stanislav Tarasov (Russia) and Mateusz Piskorski (Poland), and the activities of the AGBU in Artsakh; “Security Challenges in the South Caucasus and the Black Sea Region,” by James Nixey (UK); and “Strategy, Independence and Artsakh Constitution,” by Nikos Ligeros (Greece).
Having participated in numerous conferences throughout my career, I wish to congratulate the organizers for a well-organized conference, which despite the terrible weather and road conditions, managed to bring so many individuals from faraway lands to Stepanakert. Their superb hospitality, trips to Gandzasar and the newly discovered Tigranakert, as well as the special concert arranged for the participants left a magnificent impression of the capabilities and talents of this new republic. I sincerely hope that the presentation will be gathered and published in a separate volume.

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