Karabakh Official Blames Russia for Double Standard

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)Russia has officially recognized the legitimacy of the January 27 presidential election in Chechnya. No foreign countries has doubted the legitimacy of this election (the problem of Chechnya’s legal status will be decided after 2000)–and Aslan Maskhadov–the winner in the Chechen presidential election–is continuing to receive congratulatory messages from Moscow–a Karabakh foreign ministry official said.

Two months earlier–on November 24–a presidential election was held in Nagorno-Karabakh. Both Azerbaijan and Russia–as well as some representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Minsk Group made statemen’s–noting that the presidential election in Nagorno-Karabakh was unlawful–he said.

The statemen’s were mainly based on the fact that the status of Nagorno-Karabakh has not yet been determined–and the election of a Karabakh president is contrary to certain clauses of the negotiating process–particularly the clause stipulating that Karabakh’s status must be determined at the Minsk conference–he added..

"The given situation has again demonstrated the existence of a policy of double standards– particularly–on Russia’s part," he said.

He said that in an agreement signed between Russia and Chechnya there was not a single record of Russia’s territorial integrity–while the Russian Foreign Ministry had twice made statemen’s in connection with the presidential election in Nagorno-Karabakh–reminding all the time that the Karabakh problem could not be settled without the principle of territorial integrity being taken into consideration.

Russia’s stance–which is officially hailing the Chechen president–is no surprise to Nagorno-Karabakh–the Foreign Ministry official said–adding "Some of Russia’s political actions in Chechnya or in the Transcaucasus are determined by regional interests and not international law."

He noted that the Chechen war has proved the impossibility of solving such conflicts by force. There is only one way to settle the Karabakh problem: a willingness to compromise and hold direct talks between the parties involved in the conflict–he concluded.

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