Gradual Settlement of Karabakh Dangerous

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Among the countries of the Transcaucasus–Armenia is most prepared for joining the Council of Europe.

According to Hovannes Igitian–chairman of the parliament standing commission for foreign relations–that was said at the Council of Europe’s assembly held on Sept. 22-26 in Strasbourg. "Armenia has earlier applied for the membership in that organization and was "technically more prepared"–said Igitian.

At the same time Igitian said that Armenia and Azerbaijan should be accepted to the Council of Europe simultaneously–and that among the requiremen’s set for Azerbaijan should be its obligations in the issue of Karabakh.

Hovannes Igitian said that a human rights delegation of the Council of Europe will visit Armenia late in October–which will be the final important stage for Armenia on the road to enter that organization.

Igitian noted that the step-by-step version of the Karabakh settlement–offered by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group–may be dangerous from the stand point that it will be necessary to violate the current arms balance for an indefinite period. "Karabakh is the only conflict in the world–where peace was established and maintained without any peacekeeping forces.

The step-by-step settlement suggests first of all to break that balance and compensate that by peacemaking forces. And what if the next phases are not realized? For how long will the peacekeeping forces stay there?" he asked. It is noted that Levon Ter-Petrosyan opined at a news conference last week that the gradual settlement is today the "most real one."

Igitian voiced discontent over the fact that he did not know the content of the proposals by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen. At the same time–according to him–maybe it is time for the National Assembly to begin discussing the Karabakh issue–which cannot be done because the content of proposals is not known.

Igitian said that refusing to take part in the work of the parliament–Vazgen Manoukian’s party did much harm to itself and Armenia. "The power is not only the government–but also the opposition. The Karabakh issue is not only the issue of the President–but also that of Vazgen Manoukian and other opposition members," he said. According to him–the fact that NDU–whose candidate gained 40 percent of votes at the presidential polls–does not participate in the work of international authoritative forums (Council of Europe–parliamentary assemblies of OSCE and CIS) is a negative factor for Armenia.

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