Ghoukassian Said Status Must be Decided First

PARIS (Noyan Tapan)–Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Arkady Ghoukassian told an audience at France Foreign Relations Institute Monday–that determining the political status of Karabakh was the main priority in conflict resolution.

Ghoukassian said that the Karabakh status was the main reason for the conflict–and without a firm decision on the matter–other decisions could greatly endanger the safety and security of Karabakh–and would allow Azerbaijan to loose interest in the talks.

He commended France’s role in the conflict resolution process–and also highlighted the importance of Iran in the peace process–encouraging that Iran become actively involved in the negotiations.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported that Ghoukassian–who is on an official visit to France–defended Karabakh’s independence and right to self-determination–adding that establishing a lasting peace in the conflict would benefit the long-term safety of the region.

Ghoukassian also criticized Azerbaijan for its non-constructive approach to the peace process.

Ghoukassian told the packed audience of reporters–political officials–political analysts and members of the French-Armenian community that Armenia and Karabakh were one nation–and explained that since the Karabakh petition to reunite with Armenia was rejected by Azerbaijan–the people of Karabakh voted for independence–believing that such a step would be welcomed by the international community.

The Karabakh president explained that if a referendum were to be held in Karabakh today–an overwhelming 99 percent of the population would vote to reunite with Armenia.

"The people of Karabakh are not asking for much–only the right to live on their own land," state Ghoukassian.

The president also called on the Diaspora Armenia’s to make a Karabakh issue a pan-national issue–and address the Karabakh issue with international officials–since–he explained–Karabakh does not have the capability to reach an international audience.

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