Serious Differences Surface at Security Council Meeting


YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Serious differences emerged within the Armenian leadership during the January 7-8 Security Council meeting–RFE/RL’s Yerevan bureau reported Wednesday–citing the independent daily "Aravot." The newspaper quotes an unidentified source as saying Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s conciliatory position was backed by Yerevan Mayor Vano Siradeghian and parliamentary leaders.

Prime Minister Robert Kocharian–Defense Minister Vazgen Sarkisian–and Interior and National Security Minister Serzh Sarkisian supported the leadership of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic–which has rejected the most recent peace proposal of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group. Presidential spokesman Levon Zurabian denied that Ter-Petrosyan threatened to split into two the Interior and National Security Ministry–headed by Karabakh-born Serzh Sarkisian. That threat reportedly prompted Kocharian–also a native of Karabakh–to tender his resignation–which Ter-Petrossyan refused to accept.

Prime Minister Kocharian stated at a Wednesday press conference that his resignation was not discussed at the recent Security Council meeting. He said that those reports are only commentaries–and maybe even wishes.

Kocharian reported that the Security Council had a serious discussion regarding the settlement of the Karabakh conflict–however–it did not surpass the borders "behind which it is no longer possible to talk and shake hands." At the same time he noted that that is only his personal opinion–and that other participants of the meeting probably feel differently.

According to Kocharian–during the discussions–neither himself–nor Levon Ter-Petrosyan changed their viewpoints–no decision was passed and further debates were put off. He commented that discord between Vazgen Sargssian–Robert Kocharian–the Karabakh leadership and Ter-Petrosyan–Deputy Parliament Speaker–Yerevan Mayor still remains. The Prime Minister seriously doubts that those opinions will change.

During his press conference Prime Minister Kocharian reported that the Copenhagen ministerial meeting of the OSCE Minsk Group has yet to result in any change. Kocharian expects a new proposal in early February–following the late January meeting of Minsk Group co-chairmen.

Kocharian thinks that Armenia can have a more definite stance over the Karabakh problem. Positively assessing the Foreign Minister’s Copenhagen speech–Kocharian expressed hope that it would be grounds for further activity of the Foreign Ministry.

Kocharian said he cannot imagine any settlement leaving Karabakh under direct subordination of Azerbaijan. He said a confederation would be the best way to observe the principle of territorial integrity. However–through referendum the people of Karabakh have demanded independence and that is what their leadership is struggling for.

Commenting on domestic Armenian politics–Kocharian noted that it cannot be viewed as tense. According to him–there are certain discords in the approaches toward the Karabakh settlement. The tension between authorities and the opposition tension has to a certain extent relaxed. However–there are problems that need to be solved–such as the opposition’s return to the parliament and the reinstatement of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. Kocharian is optimistic about reaching national consent regarding problems related to Karabakh and Armenia-Diaspora relations. At the same time–he noted that the recent Security Council meeting did not result in any change.

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