Roundtables Held in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh on Possible Options for Conflict Resolution

The International Center for Human Development, sponsored by the British Embassy in Yerevan, coordinated a series of town hall meetings to provide a venue for participants to explore possible options for compromise in resolving the conflict over Nagorno Karabakh. There were two roundtables, one held in Armenia and held in Nagorno Karabakh.

Over four hundred people participated from four towns in the Armenian roundtable. The demographics were spread out relatively evenly between men and women and with people from the NGO sector, the public and private sectors, students, the cultural sector, military servants, war participants, pensioners, the education sector, the unemployed and an “other” category. There were smaller numbers of war participants and military servants represented (3% for both as opposed to an approximately 10% representation for the other categories).

For the Armenian roundtables, ICHD designated possible scenarios for the participants to choose from, presented as follows (verbatim):

Scenario I: Status quo
Scenario II: NKR a part of Azerbaijan
Scenario III: NKR: Independent or a part of Armenia
Scenario IV: The issue of status to be discussed in future
Scenario V: Procrastinated resolution- certain warrants
And lastly, “Against all.”

Scenario III appears a bit problematic given that it merges two distinct options (regardless of their respective likelihoods). It is also unclear as to what the difference is between “status quo” and “the issue of status to be discussed in the future,” which implies a status quo.

The data presentation for Armenia is somewhat confusing. While the average percentage for Scenario I (status quo) was about 29%, almost no participants chose Scenario IV (the issue of status to be discussed in the future). To be expected, no one felt that Nagorno Karabakh should become a part of Azerbaijan. The data indicated the following breakdowns (voting results split up by sector or gender were not provided): Scenario I 37%; Scenario II 0%; Scenario III 18%; Scenario IV 0.2%; Scenario V 25% and “Against all” 19%. The fact that 19% chose “against all” brings up the question as to what other scenario is realistically possible? Or is that that “against all” merely represents a deep ambivalence about the future. Your comments are welcome on this.

As for the Nagorno-Karabakh roundtables, unfortunately ICHD’s website did not post any of the data so the makeup of the participants and the outcomes are unknown. Approximately 300 people participated and the roundtables took place in three different towns around Nagorno Karabakh. Scenarios discussed included “Status Quo,” “NKR as an Independent State,” “NKR as Part of Armenia,” “The Issue of Status to be Discussed in the Future: NKR Under International Surveillance,” and “Procrastinated Resolution- Certain Warrants.” Hopefully ICHD will post this data as it would be both useful and interesting to compare the two roundtables’ outcomes.