Karabakh Remains True to Its Convictions Assert Foreign Ministry

YEREVAN–The Karabakh Foreign Ministry made a statement–criticizing certain clauses of Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s article published last week. The statement particularly noted that the Karabakh government insisted on the package solution to theconflict. At the same time it asserted that it denied the package version proposed by the OSCE Minsk group in May–because it was based on the principles mentioned by the OSCE acting chairman at the Lisbon summit–which were inadmissible for Karabakh and which remained nothing but a personal opinion of the OSCE acting chairman due to Armenia’s posture at the summit. International wire services–such as Reuters–have also covered this announcement as a major international event..

Below is the full text of the statement: Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s article titled "Peace or War? Time to Get Serious," published on Nov. 1 1997 in several Armenian newspapers is aimed at initiating discussions among various circles of the Armenian public life on the ways and methods to settle the Karabakh conflict.

In this connection the Foreign Ministry of Karabakh considers it necessary to give definite explanations regarding the assessment and commentaries by Armenia’s President that directly touch the position of the Karabakh leadership.

First of all–as for Karabakh’s participation in the negotiations in fringes of the OSCE Minsk group–such a decision was made in 1992 and not in 1993. Armenia did exert pressure on Karabakh in 1993 (and we are announcing this for the first time) in order for self-defense forces to immediately pull out of Kelbadjar.

We also have to state with regret that Armenia’s President did not so correctly present the approaches of our leadership in relation to the "phased" and "package" settlement versions.

According to Levon Ter-Petrosyan–"having at first denied the package and then the phased settlement versions–and today again asking to get back to the package version–the Karabakh side put both Armenia and Karabakh in an awkward situation."

Armenia’s President could never be unaware of the true motives and grounds of the Karabakh side.

In May 1997 the OSCE Minsk group co-chairmen proposed a draft "Comprehensive agreement on settlement of the Karabakh conflict" which consisted of two parts–the discontinuation of the armed conflict and the status of the region.

So–the draft of the so-called comprehensive agreement was in a sense a guised version of a package solution to the problem.

However–both parts of the agreement were based on the principles mentioned by the OSCE acting chairman at the Lisbon summit and did not acquire the force of an official document.

The Karabakh leadership backed Armenia’s stance–assessing the statement by the OSCE acting chairman as a personal opinion having no legal consequences in the Karabakh peace process.

It is quite natural that due to these facts the given "comprehensive settlement" package could not be accepted as a base for the talks. Both OSCE co-chairmanship and Armenia’s authorities were informed of that.

We think it is necessary to emphasize again that the Karabakh leadership denied no package version–but the given one which was based on principles stated by the OSCE acting chairman in Lisbon.

The Karabakh Foreign Ministry also states that the leadership of Karabakh–still insisting on the package settlement–does not contradict any of its previous principled positions that have been consistently defended on all levels of negotiations under the auspices of the OSCE.

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