Monday, July 10, 2006

Karabakh's recognition basis for conflict settlement - NKR minister

Mediamax news agency
7 Jul 06

Yerevan, 7 July:
The defence minister of the Nagornyy Karabakh republic [NKR], Lt-Gen Seyran Oganyan, said in Stepanakert today that "as long as the NKR has not been recognized, we do not intend to return the territories that serve as a security belt for us".

Speaking at a news conference in Stepanakert today, Seyran Oganyan said that Karabakh is in favour of only a peaceful settlement of the conflict, "but Azerbaijan thrust a war upon us and we had to resolve the problem in a military way," Mediamax reports.

The minister said that "the territories under the control of Nagornyy Karabakh are not an end in itself, but serve as a security zone for the quiet life of the republic".

The general stressed that the issue of territories and the deployment of an international peacekeeping contingent can be considered only at the last stage of the settlement after the resolution of the main problem - the determination of the legal status of Nagornyy Karabakh.

"If the main issue of the settlement process is not solved, there can be no talk about returning the territories," the NKR defence minister said.

Speaking about a possible resumption of hostilities in the light of Azerbaijan's militarist statements, Seyran Oganyan expressed the opinion that "Azerbaijan does not wish to start a war".

In the minister's opinion, Baku's militarist rhetoric pursues only domestic political goals. At the same time, the Nagornyy Karabakh defence army has a plan of effective countermeasures to defend the republic, Seyran Oganyan said.

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