Petrosian Says Karabakh Cannot Remain in Azerbaijan

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Karabakh leadership will maintain its continuity of internal and foreign policy and continue to participate in negotiations to achieve international recognition–said Karabakh Prime Minister Leonard Petrosian during a press conference Wednesday devoted to the situation in Karabakh after Robert Kocharian’s resignation as president and appointment as Prime Minister of Armenia. "Karabakh will stand up for the people’s just demand," he added.

Petrosian noted that it was necessary to go on building a civil and democratic society and establish a legislative base. According to Petrosian–the ideology should be based on the model of man’state cooperation.

During his recent visit to France Leonard Petrosian was planning to have only two meetings in Paris and Lyon.

However–as the Karabakh Prime Minister noted–taking into account that he was traveling to Paris as the acting Karabakh president–French political circles showed interest towards his visit–wishing to know the policy of the new Karabakh leader. He had meetings with a number of French officials and political figures–as well as representatives of the Armenian Diaspora–and spoke of investmen’s into Karabakh’s economy.

Speaking of early presidential polls in Karabakh–Leonard Petrosian noted that it is likely that the present laws be amended–in order to delay the election. Petrosian said that this delay would enable the presidential candidates to get prepared for the election campaign.

The Minister did not rule out that a vice-presidential post be established in Karabakh. These issues will be brought for consideration at the Karabakh Parliament–Petrosian said.

As for the current stage of negotiations over the settlement of the Karabakh conflict–Leonard Petrosian noted that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Chairman’s statement in Lisbon predetermined Karabakh’s future political status. According to Petrosian–the statement resulted in toughening Azerbaijan’s position in negotiation talks.

"Karabakh cannot remain within Azerbaijan and can have only parallel relations with Azerbaijan," Said Leonard Petrosian. He noted that Karabakh’s existence as an enclave is inadmissible.

"Nagorno Karabakh should decide the degree of its safety on its own," the Prime Minister added. In this respect–the Prime Minister emphasized the importance of strengthening the Karabakh army as this would be the only security guarantee of Karabakh and its people.

At a conference following his visit to France–Petrosian focused on internal and foreign affairs of the republic and discussed his recent visit to France. According to a Nagorno-Karabakh Republic government statement–the policy adopted by Karabakh will not change at least until presidential elections have begun and a new government established.

Foreign policy assumes the continuation of the negotiation process and attainment of international recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as a republic. Domestic development of civil society will continue.

The adopted laws should have equal force for all–regardless of position and rank–the head of the government said. In the field of defense–the Karabakh army should be strengthened as a guarantee of Karabakh security. Transition to market relations with special attention to social issues within free economic relations should be encouraged–Petrosian said.

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