Manoukian Criticizes Armenia’s Foreign Policy

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–There is a quite definite opinion in the United States that Armenia has deviated from the course of democracy–the Chairman of the National-Democratic Union–Vazgen Manoukian– said Wednesday at a news conference devoted to the results of his visit to the United States.

The former presidential candidate said these concerns were raised by the Armenian National Committee of America and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in regards to recent events in Armenia. During his visit–Manoukian had meetings with representatives of various political circles in the United States as well as representatives of public organizations.

The political figure highlighted the fact that interests of large oil companies had added to the current unfavorable conditions of resolving the Karabakh problem. According to him–it is quite obvious that the United States and oil companies are interested in the establishment of peace in the Transcaucasus–and that the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh is essentially important to oil companies. It should be taken into account that the best oil route lies through Armenia and that oil companies will not become Azerbaijan’s slaves–since the West is not interested in any kind of destabilization.

He noted that the proposal to leave Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan is unacceptable. During the discussion of that issue–which was also attended by representatives of the administration–Manoukian proposed the following model: to create conditions for the return of refugees both from the Armenian and the Azeri sides; to resolve issues related to territories controlled by the Karabakh army; to solve the problem of granting an independent status to Nagorno-Karabakh. In Manoukian’s opinion–the realization of the foregoing model will eliminate any kind of excesses–including the intervention of any outside forces. Manoukian sharply criticized the passivity of Armenia’s foreign policy–in particular–the lack of cooperation with such an influential structure as the ARF. "I believe that even the KGB did not score such successes as Ter-Petrosyan and his administration did in splitting up the Diaspora."

Manoukian opined that the recent proposals by the OSCE Minsk group contained no great alterations. The document is still based on the same principle that suggests that Nagorno-Karabakh should remain within Azerbaijan. "I think that it is a wrong way of solving the problem. Political circles in the United States are gradually arriving at a conclusion that a search for other options is needed to quit the crisis. The Americans are ready to hear any constructive proposal regarding that matter," Manoukian said.

Referring to the future activities of the National Accord Alliance–Manoukian said–"The problems the alliance was facing might have been resolved in a better way. The question of discussing the situation and further expedience of the Alliance’s activities is ripe now. The Alliance has already started discussing the matter and the discussion is expected to be continued with other parties."

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