Ghoukassian Refutes Compromise Reports

MOSCOW (AFP/Noyan Tapan)–Nagorno-Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian said in a radio interview Monday that his country would be willing to consider limitations of its statehood provided Nagorno-Karabakh be recognized as an independent state by the world community.

"We are realists and are aware that we won’t be able to create a normal state," Ghoukassian told Echo Moscow radio.

However–Ghoukassian said that before he would agree to this–the Karabakh would have to be recognized as an "entity under international law."

Armenia "must bear direct responsibility for the security of Nagorno-Karabakh," he said.

The enclave "has been defacto independent for nearly 10 years," but "is still in a state of neither war nor peace because there is no document that would formally declare a truce with Azerbaijan," Ghoukassian said.

He added that such a document would have to be signed "by Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan–and possibly by Armenia."

Ghoukassian claimed Azerbaijan has been avoiding direct talks with Nagorno-Karabakh because Baku was hoping "the United States will give Karabakh to Azerbaijan as a present."

He said Washington has to an extent been successful in accomplishing "a major geopolitical task – to tear Azerbaijan from Russian influence."

He added that Russia played an important role in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and that the first visit he made as Nagorno-Karabakh’s president was to Moscow "in view of its tremendous influence and potential."

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