Karabakh Status Must be a Priority Says Leonard Petrossian

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–In an interview with Noyan Tapan Karabakh Prime Minister Leonard Petrossian discussed the latest developmen’s in the Karabakh peace process.

Among other issues–Petrossian tackled the tough question of whether Karabakh would be left under the jurisdiction of the Azeri government. He said that Karabakh determined its own fate when in 1991 through a national referendum–the people of Karabakh declared themselves independent.

Furthermore–he said–the two election cycles have proven that the people of Nagorno-Karabakh want their leader to pursue the recognition of the Karabakh independence and self-determination–and therefore–the Karabakh leadership has no legal or moral right to do or pursue anything but that. "Karabakh will never be let within Azerbaijan," Petrossian stressed.

Petrossian went on to speak about the various models of settlement–adding that Karabakh would agree to a stage-by-stage settlement deal–only if the determination of Karabakh’s status was the first stage of the deal. Then–according to Petrossian–the sides could talk about borders–the withdrawal of troops and any other political and territorial issues.

"The ‘package’ settlement model provides for simultaneous resolution of all these problems," said Petrossian.

Referring to Armenia’s insistence that a legal document on the settlement will be adopted at the upcoming OSCE Copenhagen summit–Petrossian said that the Lisbon summit led to an impasse in the talks–although the statement by the OSCE acting chairman was not a legal document. The OSCE Lisbon Summit led to an impasse in the talks–although the statement by the OSCE Acting Chairman was not a legal document. We presume that another political statement will be adopted in Copenhagen–but it would hardly have any legal force.

Petrossian concluded the interview saying–"Actual compromise is possible only when Azerbaijan recognizes Karabakh as an independent party to the conflict and starts direct talks with Karabakh to be attended by all sides interested in the process."

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