Public diplomacy will contribute to peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
Public diplomacy has become an important factor in the modern world political process. Interstate bodies and diplomatic agencies are often asking active part of society to help them, since it's capable of expanding existing international contacts. These contact can help to resolve tasks that mediators face today when they're resolving conflicts in the South Caucasus. Global trends in humanization of international relations dictate new ideas, according to which the use of military force or its constant buildup cannot be regarded as an effective way of conducting foreign policy.
Public diplomacy has different forms and methods of cooperation, allowing to convey realities of the country to citizens of other countries. Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh is ready for a constructive dialogue with Armenian population of the region. Interethnic hatred, which so-called experts on the Karabakh issue often mention, doesn't exist. In reality, people of Azerbaijan and Armenia want peace. The most progressive part of Azerbaijani society, despite occupation of a part of the republic's territory, believes that Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan can once again coexist peacefully within internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan. For centuries, both peoples lived side by side, during this time many contact were established, there was cultural exchange, and poly-ethnic families appeared. In other to resume contacts between Armenian and Azerbaijani communities, humanitarian ties must be used to help form a circle of partners, colleagues, and true friends in both republics.
Unfortunately, modern conflicts always go with fake news. In conditions of information wars, obtaining reliable information is extremely difficult, there are risks of intensification of interethnic crises through targeted presentation of incorrect information. Cooperation that can be achieved through bilateral contacts between communities can help to overcome mental conflicts, actualizing real problems of the population of this region. People aren't interested in virtual world, full of myths and conjectures. First of all, it's important for them to have stable jobs, ability to provide for their families, take care of parents and ensure future of their children. Not a single virtual concept can satisfy social needs of citizens, so these concepts are outside of rhetoric of public diplomats who have experienced real confrontation.
Public diplomacy helps to overcome ethnic stereotypes, forming basis for solidarity of society. Isolation of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh is a dangerous phenomenon for the entire region, since it contributes to stereotyping of interethnic relations, spreading idea of denying the existence of Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh. In fact, this community does exist, its number currently exceeds 80 thousand people. Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh has legal structure headed by professional diplomat Tural Ganjaliyev.
Leadership of the community always proposes to resume negotiations with representatives of Armenian community of Karabakh. There have been episodes in the Karabakh settlement's history when productive negotiations were conducted between representatives of those communities. Communities' representatives have participated in negotiations from 1992 to mid 2000s, which confirmed willingness of people to achieve peace, which frightened those interested in freezing negotiations. The latter encouraged spread of the myth about ethnic incompatibility of Armenians and Azerbaijanis, impossibility of coexistence between communities of Nagorno-Karabakh. By the way, after another escalation of the conflict, Serzh Sargsyan and Robert Kocharyan resorted to similar tactics at different times.
Public diplomacy can give impulse to negotiations and bring peoples of Armenia and Azerbaijan closer to peace. Nikol Pashinyan’s desire to involve representatives of Karabakh in the talks is welcomed, especially since the need for contacts at intercommunity level is noted in early OSCE documents. That's why current Prime Minister of Armenia has a chance to resume negotiations with the involvement of communities.