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UNIFEM discuss female role in Karabakh resolution

By Salome Modebadze
Monday, September 27
On the International Day of Peace, the United Nations Development fund for Woman (UNIFEM) organized a press conference at Hotel Betsy on September 21. The Belgian Senator Madam Dominique Tilmans along with the representatives of the Armenian and Azerbaijan woman NGOs discussed ways of peacefully resolving the Karabakh conflict. The peace dialogues initiated and supported by Madam Tilmans are oriented on increasing the role of Azerbaijani and Armenian women in finding a peaceful solution to the long-lasting conflict between the sides as well as implementation of the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1325 “Women, Peace and Security,” which was unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council on October 31, 2000.

“It has been a twenty-year conflict in the Caucasus with no particular changes. We think that it’s high time the women start thinking of the peaceful ways of solution…If we want to have peace, we can have it! We have to want it – we have to find women, who have the power and desire to participate in the whole process,” the Belgian Senator told The Messenger. Explaining that the people have to change their approach towards the issue and think more about the people fighting for their Governments, Madam Tilmans wondered why all those innocent people shouldn’t die when they don’t want a war any more? “Women, youth and some men have different values nowadays and they want peace. It will of course be difficult to succeed in all these peaceful procedures especially when some people even won’t us to fail, but the more difficult the task, the more I want to succeed,” she added.

The Governments of both countries do not yet express their readiness to resume the conflict. So it is not an issue which the women can resolve with one meeting but they hope to succeed in good time. “Unfortunately we don’t yet have any solutions. It’s just a message to the world and step by step I think we will manage to persuade the world that we are right and women will be listened to,” Madam Tilmans said hoping.

Tenzila Rustamkhani, Chair of the Turkish-Azerbaijan Women’s Association spoke of the terror which the war has brought to the two countries for twenty years. “Around 25 000 women have lost their children in wars. It is a very sensitive issue because no one can guarantee that no war will ever be started. So if we want an internal peace the Armenian military troops have to leave Karabakh and give the Azerbaijan refugees an opportunity to return to their homes,” Rustamkhani told the media. Stressing she wishes that both Armenian and Azerbaijan people would leave in peace.

“If I were not sure that a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict can be reached, I wouldn’t have been here,” Rubina Ter-Martirosyan from Millennium NGO told The Messenger. “There have been wars in Europe, Balkans and Caucasus during the previous years and the blood which had to be shed has already been shed. So I am definitely sure that the values of the 21st century will prompt us to negotiate…It’s not only the issue concerning the Governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan but the International Community should also ensure some mediation leading to the peaceful solution of the conflict,” Ter-Martirosyan said.

The meetings of the sides which started in Brussels, Belgium on May 4-5, 2010 will continue in Armenia and Azerbaijan and the participants hope that the discussions around the peaceful solution of Karabakh conflict will be supported by the rest of the world.