Director of Aland Islands Peace Institute: There are two main differences between the Aland and Nagorno Karabakh conflicts -EXCLUSIVE

Director of Aland Islands Peace Institute: There are two main differences between the Aland and Nagorno Karabakh conflicts <font color=red>-EXCLUSIVE </font>
# 08 February 2008 09:40 (UTC +04:00)
-What is the advantage of the Aland Islands model over other models in the settlement of the conflicts?
-There are hundreds of autonomy models in the world. I think that these models are not studied sufficiently in the world. A superior feature can be taken from each of these autonomy models. But, I avoid the world “model”. Model is something that the states want to imitate. It would be better to use the word “example”. I think that there are some good elements in our autonomy example. Some examples can be taken from this form, because the Aland Islands had a success in the solution of territorial integrity. There still are problems in connection with autonomy, and it does not depend only on the political will of the governments. For example, there was a problem in the Aland Islands – people used to ask how such a small society can fulfill the requirements of European Union and European legislation. But we have overcome these problems and are developing.
-A few years ago it was offered to use the Aland Islands model in the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Why isn’t this system considered expedient for the settlement of our conflict?
-Before the idea of autonomy appeared in the Aland Islands the majority of people wanted to live under the leadership of Sweden, not Finland. The idea of autonomy appeared later approximately early in the 20th century. And it took the system 50 years to be operational. Besides, our conflicts have geographical differences. It was easier to grant autonomy to the Aland Islands in terms of territory. Another fact is that different languages were spoken in the Aland Islands for long years. Finnish is used, but Swedish is mainly spoken here. Another difference is that the Aland Islands had experience in autonomy under the Russian Empire. The islands had the status of autonomy for a long time. It was a kind of preparation for Finland in the problem of autonomy. As regards the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, there are two main differences. A lot of people were killed in both countries as the conflict started, and there is problem of IDPs. The countries face difficulties in the settlement of the conflict because of this. Our conflict was not so tense.
International organizations claim that, the conflict has been solved because Aland community was democratic?
First of all, I want to mention that, League of Nations -the body which substituted for UNO before. Neither Finland nor Sweden can con influence to this decision. Certainly, democratic society in the two countries did not play last role in the settlement of the conflict. These countries give special attention to human rights. Finland understands that, world community follows this country attentively. I consider that, we can help to the settlement of conflicts in other countries taking these facts into account.
Which steps should Azerbaijan and Armenia take in the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict?
The two countries spend enough money on arming, according to researches of our Institution. This is very bad fact and it can not help to the development of peaceful solution. The two countries should achieve principal agreements and understand what important issues are for the countries and what they should give attention to on initial stage.
How can media help to these countries on the settlement of the conflicts?
It is important that, media should not propagate that conflict should be solved by military way. It is important that detestation should not be propagated. I can say that, several journalists have not enough information about the opposite side of the conflict. I am sure that, it is necessary to increase efforts strengthening mutual understanding between the two communities. Integration of IDPs to their homelands is very important. Holding of Azerbaijani days in Armenia is not a bad example in this context.
Finland chairs OSCE now. Which proposals can this country present for the settlement of the conflict?
I consider that, there will be amendments if people expedite efforts on local level. People should understand what they need for the solution to the conflict. Autonomy is a modern Institution giving opportunity for the solution to such conflicts. The whole world admits it. It may be called a new political landscape.

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