Speech of Ramiz Sevdimaliyev, Doctor of Political sciences, ACSDA expert at “Sarsang SOS ” international conference in Tartar on September 7, 2013

Speech of Elkhan Suleymanov, President of ACSDA and MP, at “Sarsang SOS ” international conference in Tartar on September 7, 2013
26 years pass since occupation of Azerbaijan’s Shusha city
Azerbaijani defense minister checks combat capability of armored vehicles in frontline zone

I’d like to thank Mr. Elkhan Suleymanov, President of the ACSDA, and his employees for the development and realization of this project. At the same time, I’d like to thank Head of Executive Power of Tartar because this event is permitted to be held here – near the frontline.

It’s very important to hold this event in Tartar. As it was mentioned, Tartar is adjacent to the line of contact. We know that though our territories are temporarily under Armenian occupation, Azerbaijan is indivisible, inalienable, and we’ll return these territories sooner or later. We feel so.

Secondly, because Sarsang reservoir was built on Tartar River, but unfortunately, it is under occupation for about 22 years.

A lot of information was given here; I’d like to clarify some international, political, and legal aspects in short.

Talking about a possible catastrophe in Sarsang reservoir, we should first of all consider this problem together with the occupation of Nagorno Karabakh because Sarsang reservoir was occupied as a consequence of namely Nagorno Karabakh and surrounding 7 regions. And who is to blame? Here Mr. Suleymanov spoke about deputy prime minister of so-called regime, and told that Armenia is responsible for it.Therefore, Armenia has an international and legal responsibility. Armenia may dodge itself,but the facts are undeniable.

Nagorno Karabakh is formed on the account of Armenian budget for long. Kocharyan and Sargsyan, who lived in Azerbaijan for many years, committed bloody crimes in Azerbaijani territories and became President of Armenia by violating the Constitution of Armenia. In fact, Armenian state established an occupational regime under name of so-called Karabakh Republic in the occupied Azerbaijani territories.

A crime against humanity was committed during the occupation: genocide in Khojaly city of Azerbaijan, and a similar case in Garadaghly a week before Khojaly. Garadaghly genocide is mentioned less, but Armenians themselves acknowledged the events there, and the book published many times in America deals with this event.

We may speak about possible catastrophe of Sarsang reservoir and its heavy results in the context of the evaluation of the results of the occupation.Our environmental, social and economic, historical, and cultural monuments were damaged. By the way, namely Mr. Elkhan Suleymanov carried out the first complex investigation of the evaluation of this damage. His book is kept not only in Azerbaijan, but also in US Congress library, and now it’s published in US and Russia. As I know, it’ll be published in other languages as well. Maybe some sources will disagree, but for the first time the figure was illustrated in this investigation – Azerbaijan was subject to 431 billion US dollars’ damage due to occupation.

Talking about possible catastrophe of Sarsang and of course, about occupation in general, we should also mention individual strategic buildings under occupation. Sarsang reservoir is namely one of such strategic buildings. If so, current and future damage to economy, environment, and historical and cultural monuments in surrounding regions should be evaluated.

Thus, it should be noted that all documents of Sarsang are in the hands of Azerbaijan, and belong to Azerbaijan. The aggressors cannot maintain the reservoir without these documents, even if they did, it’d be illegal. Namely due to lack of maintenance, a lot of equipments of Sarsang are out of order, and natural disaster may happen in any case. In addition, man-made factor may emerge deliberately.

In fact, if all farmlands of the 7 regions were irrigated with water of Sarsang reservoir during the Soviet period, now these regions and the regions, which are not under occupation, are unable to do it. Armenians open water when they wish, in winter and stop it in summer. The lands degrade, the structure of soil changes, and productivity disappears.

Sarsang is distinguished for the height of the place it was built. When the water is opened, surrounding downstream areas flood. This may have heavy consequences, since agriculture, economy, and infrastructure may collapse, even human casualties may happen..Azerbaijani people may face a new humanitarian catastrophe.We were subject to this catastrophe in early 1990s.

One of the most painful points is that internally displaced people from Nagorno Karabakh live in each of these downstream regions.Head of Executive Power is present here, and he can confirm my words. These people have already become IDPs once; they have already suffered from the catastrophe committed by Armenia, and may face this threat for the second time. In fact, these people are subconsciously subject to torture by suffering from possible Sarsang tragedy.

Talking about the importance of the project, Mr. Suleymanov told that we wouldn’t wage a war. Yes, we don’t want to wage a war. But if we want peace peacefully and release our territories, we should be prepared for war anytime.One of the terms of this preparedness is that our diplomats and country leadershiphold peace negotiations. In some point these negotiations should be contracted by agreement.Diplomats usually pay attention to individual details during the settlement of specific problems, and the attention to strategic buildings like Sarsang reservoir may strengthen the position of Azerbaijani diplomats in negotiations..

Mr. Suleymanov noted that the control on Sarsang should be handed to Azerbaijan in order to prevent a possible catastrophe, and this opinion should be delivered to international community. Yes, we know that it’s difficult to resolve Sarsang water problem if Nagorno Karabakh problem is not settled. It’s true, but this cause may be at least demanded before international community and kept on the focus of their attention in order to achieve at least investigation and evaluation of Sarsang reservoir by independent international experts.

Undoubtedly, aggressor Armenian side won’t agree to hand over the control. We may at least demand that it is handed to independent international control. This is one of important issues.

Finally, I guess one more point will be investigated within the project. It is very important that we discuss the occupation itself, the occupation of Sarsang water reservoir, the fact that exploitation of the reservoir by the aggressor state is unacceptable and illegal.

According to some sources, separatist Nagorno Karabakh regime built a small hydropower station and uses it as a power station.It’s unacceptable at all and contradicts international laws.

I’d like to thank you and sorry for taking your time. Thank you.