Ghoukassian Says No Karabakh Deal at Summit

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"No resolution on Nagorno Karabakh will be adopted at the OSCE summit in Istanbul–since there are no agreemen’s achieved by the conflicting parties," president of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Arkady Ghoukassian told a news conference on November 16 in Stepanakert. He noted that such a precedent took place at the 1996 OSCE summit in Lisbon. At that summit–according to Ghoukassian–the OSCE Chairman-in-Office made a inadequate statement that brought the entire negotiating process to a deadlock.

The Karabakh president stressed that today there is no alternative to the political settlement and that the Azeri leadership is well aware of that. He said that like the Karabakh leadership–Azerbaijan rules out any military solution to the conflict. Ghoukassian noted–however–that the foreign policy of the country would remain intact and would proceed from a resolution adopted as a result of the 1991 referendum. "As president I must follow the will of the people and therefore we will further aspire for independence," Ghoukassian said. He emphasized that Nagorno Karabakh would not discard the idea of independence and would defend it at the table of negotiations.

The president also mentioned that in a couple of days he will lead a delegation to the United States to attend the November 25 telethon organized by the "Hayastan" Armenian Fund to raise funds for the construction of a 170km north-south highway. The highway will connect many of the republic’s isolated towns and villages. According to Ghoukassian–the highway project–along with other developmental projects–can be implemented if the trust of the Diaspora towards Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh undermined in recent time is restored.

Ghoukassian described the situation in the country as being stable. According to the president–the people of Nagorno Karabakh support the current leadership that aims to establish law and order and develop democracy. Ghoukassian condemned attempts made by some forces to split society–saying that such actions will be curbed in accordance with law.

Ghoukassian also addressed issues pertaining to measures taken by the Karabakh leadership to reveal corruption–tax evasion–privatization violations and housing distribution violations. According to the president–a number of criminal proceedings have been already instituted. In particular–he mentioned that an investigation is under way in connection with the shortage of $500,000 in taxes by the Tsitsernak organization led by Karabakh Army Deputy Commander Armen Abgarian.

Among positive signs–Ghoukassian noted the rise of repatriation–which–according to him–testifies to the general improvement of the domestic situation and gradual establishment of the rule of law.

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