By Hrach Melkumian
A group of Armenian and Azerbaijani researchers has launched two mutually linked web sites in an effort to promote reconciliation of their estranged nations funded by the British government.
The first-ever Armenian-Azerbaijani Internet project was on Thursday officially presented in Yerevan. “Our purpose is to mitigate the image of enemy reigning in the two countries and promote a public opinion favoring reconciliation and mutual concessions,” said Harutiun Khachatrian, one of three Armenian analysts involved in the initiative.
The Azerbaijani side is led by Ali Abbasov, former director of the Philosophy Institute of the Azerbaijani Academy of Sciences.
The experts have already conducted joint research on ways of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the main source of tensions between their countries. Their findings are contained in a brochure published in the Armenian, Azeri and Russian languages. Those are also available at the researchers’ web sites (www.dialoguearmaz.nt.am and www.dialogueazarm.com) hosted from Yerevan and Baku respectively.
The web sites, created with the financial support of the British embassies in Armenia and Azerbaijan, also carry an article about prospects for economic cooperation between the two neighbors. “Both groups believe that economic cooperation is possible and may facilitate the conflict’s settlement,” Khachatrian said.
The Armenian government and the European Union support the establishment of direct commercial ties between Armenia and Azerbaijan. However, the Azerbaijani leadership is categorically against any cross-border commerce until the resolution of the Karabakh dispute.