TODAY.AZ / Voice of Diaspora

"Conceptual basis for rehabilitation of the post-conflict territories of Azerbaijan" book presented in London

04 March 2011 [12:17] - TODAY.AZ
In London, the House of Lords hosted a presentation of the book titled 'Conceptual basis for rehabilitation of the post-conflict territories of Azerbaijan.'

The authors of the book are Nazim Muzaffarli, the editor in chief of the 'Caucasus and Globalization' magazine and Eldar Ismayilov, the director of the Institute of Strategic Studies of the Caucasus (ISSC).

"For over ten years, one of the main areas of the ISSC's work was to study the obstacles to cooperation and integration processes in the Caucasus region", Ismayilov said during the presentation. According to him, post-Soviet history of the region proves that unresolved ethnopolitical armed conflicts remain a major stumbling block not only for integration within the region, but also for its effective involvement in international political and economic system.

According to Ismayilov, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh conflicts are remembered for their most devastating consequences for the Caucasus; their resolution today requires serious political efforts and economic resources.

"Therefore the problem's objective assessment, based on its systematic analysis, is necessary", he said.

The main objective of the study, according to Ismayilov, is the desire to contribute to understanding of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, the search for peaceful and constructive ways of its long-term settlement and the normalization of the lives of people living there.

"I think the pattern for reconstruction of post-conflict territories in Azerbaijan can be applied not only to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but also when considering other armed conflicts in the Black Sea-Caucasus-Caspian region, that significantly inhibit the objective appropriateness of the region's natural and human resources' involvement in global economy," he added.

In turn, Muzaffarli presented in detail the book's main features to the audience. In his address, Muzaffarli explained what the difference was between the methodology and results of this book and the previous studies of a similar kind which, according to him, have been useful for the authors during the work.

"Sooner or later, one way or another, Azerbaijan will surely achieve justice and reunite with all the currently occupied territories. It's just a matter of time", said Muzaffarli. According to him, it is already necessary now to think about the future, to plan the post-conflict future of these territories, and this is the responsibility not only of the government but also of the entire society, including independent experts.

Speaking about the specifics of the approach used in this book, Muzaffarli noted that authors had studied only the seven occupied regions outside the administrative borders of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, since "obviously it is these areas that will initially be liberated during the phased solution of the conflict."

According to Muzaffarli, it is supposed that the rehabilitation of post-conflict areas will be completed within five years. All rehabilitation works are distributed in time, based on priority and natural sequence. Rehabilitation works combined into four groups: governing and security, restoration of life support systems, infrastructure rehabilitation and economic recovery. The involvement of local and foreign private investors as well as international financial organizations and foreign donors to the rehabilitation process was analyzed separately.

The audience was particularly interested in the book's points concerning risk management, which the authors divided into the risks that inherent in such large-scale projects, and those that are external to the project. However, as Muzaffarli noted, no matter how great was the likelihood of such risks and the degree of their potential danger, finally, their negative impact can be minimized, and they in no way could be interpreted as factors that can call into question the very post-conflict rehabilitation.

According to him, the significance of post-conflict rehabilitation is extremely high, not only for Azerbaijan but also for the international community. In conclusion, Muzaffarli quoted a well-known Azerbaijani saying: If you are unable to protect the land, don't cultivate it, but if you do not cultivate the land, there is no sense to defend it." "We want to "cultivate" these lands for the benefit of Azerbaijan and the whole Caucasus", added Muzaffali.

The book is published by the Institute of Strategic Studies of the Caucasus in three languages (Azerbaijani, Russian and English).

The main issue raised the book is how and by what means it will be possible to rehabilitate the Azerbaijani territories after de-occupation. The study, by independent experts, focuses specifically on post-conflict rehabilitation of the territories of Azerbaijan and does not address issues of when and how the conflict itself will be resolved.


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