Karabakh More Legitimate Than Azerbaijan Says Ex Russian Envoy

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"There is only one way of solving the problem: to leave Nagorno-Karabakh alone and recognize its full right to self-determination," said Russia’s former Ambassador to Armenia Vladimir Stupishin–who was part of team of international monitors for the the Sept. 1 presidential elections said.

Commenting on the ways of solution to the Karabakh conflict. He said–the right to self-determination is a true right granted by God which is not to be begged for.

Stupishin called the common positions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group Co-Chairmen in the matter of the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement strange–as he believes that the interests of Russia–the United States and France in the region are quite different. He opined that the Transcaucasus is an area of vital interest for Russia–while Armenia and Karabakh are Russia’s strategic allies.

"Here we can’t possibly have the same interests with the United States–which are trying by all means to force us out of here," Stupishin emphasized.

According to him–the Minsk Group Co-Chairmen’s recent proposals contain a lot of quite unacceptable and shameful things–in particular–the offer to give up Shushi–a historical town of Armenia’s–to Azeris.

Commenting on the appeal by the Azeri side to international organizations demanding that the presidential elections in Nagorno-Karabakh be denounced and recognized null and void–the former ambassador said that no one was entitled to prevent a nation from electing its leaders.

According to him–there are no international rules which stop a nation from holding free elections. Stupishin stressed that the elections held on the basis of people’s free will had become another referendum of the Karabakh people. In the ex-ambassador’s opinion–the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is much more legitimate than Azerbaijan which–unlike Nagorno-Karabakh–quitted the Soviet Union–thus totally breaching the current Soviet law.

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