Thursday, August 30, 2007


By Ruzanna Khachatrian

Radio Libery, Czech Rep.
Aug 28 2007

Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian demanded on Tuesday that Armenia change a long-standing policy and formally recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state.

The initiative took the form of a relevant bill introduced in the Armenian parliament by Hovannisian. The bill has to be discussed and evaluated by the parliament committee on foreign relations and the government before it can reach the parliament floor.

Karabakh declared itself an independent state in 1991 shortly after breaking away from Azerbaijani rule but has since failed to win formal recognition by any country of the world, including Armenia.

The current and former authorities in Yerevan have resisted periodical domestic calls to recognize the dispute territory's independence, saying that such a move would only complicate efforts at a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict.

Stepan Safarian, a parliament deputy from Hovannisian's Zharangutyun party, said the latest deadlock in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks is a major reason for the bill's circulation. He expressed hope that the pro-government majority in the National Assembly will back it.

However, speaker Tigran Torosian and other majority leaders made it clear that they will oppose the initiative, seeing ulterior motives behind it. They also said it would create an additional obstacle to a Karabakh settlement.

"Recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic by the Republic of Armenia must have a very serious justification," Torosian told RFE/RL. "It is not right for individuals who are uninformed about the course and details of [Armenian-Azerbaijani] negotiations to introduce bills for known reasons to the parliament."

"If the Republic of Armenia unilaterally recognizes the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as an independent state, the work of the OSCE Minsk Group will become meaningless," said Aram Safarian, secretary of the parliament faction of the Prosperous Armenia Party.

A senior lawmaker from another governing party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, took a similar view. "Such initiatives must not be ends in themselves or stem from some political calculations or party interests," said Armen Rustamian. "They must take into consideration state interests and not obstruct the negotiating process."


I think that the excuse being used of recognition of independence complicating the peace settlement is a bunch of bull. In the end as it stands now, the only peace settlement that will ever be adopted will come only after the approval of the Artsakh government and the people living here. If you ask me, we can speed up the process by having the Artsakh government negotiating with the Azeris.

I think one of the main motivating factors of Raffi’s to get Artsakh recognized and the reason it’s not going to get recognized is that if Artsakh is an independent state, then all bets are off in terms of Armenia presently recognizing Artsakh as a part of Armenia. This was a decision adopted by the Armenian government when Artsakh first declared independence. Artsakh reciprocated and declared Armenia a part of Artsakh. Later on, the Artstakh government reversed the decision, but the decision from Armenia remained and remains to this day. This is the reason why Robert Kocharian was able to be elected President of Armenia. Technically he was living in Armenia for 10 years prior to the elections because Artsakh is a part of Armenia.

If Artsakh is recognized by the Armenian government as an independent state, Serg Sarkissyan will not qualify to run as President since he is not an Armenian citizen, but is an Artsakh citizen, thus not be eligible to run for President.

In fact I would guess that there are many high-ranking officials from Artsakh who would have to become citizens of Armenia in order to retain their posts since if I recall, citizenship is a requirement of minister post in Armenia. Of course with the new duel citizenship laws in place, recognizing Artsakh as a separate state would not have too much effect on those working in government that are Artsakh citizens since they could receive dual citizenship.

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