Georgian Foreign Ministry Opposes Karabakh Poll

STEPANAKERT (Snark)–The Black Sea Press news agency last week reported on a statement issued by Georgian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aftandil Napetvaridze–who said that Georgia considers illegal–the parliamentary elections in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

In an interview with the Snark news agency–Chairman of the Karabakh parliamentary commission on foreign relations–Vahram Atanesian–commented on the matter–saying–"In spite of all my respect for Georgia and its people–I have to note with regret the non-constructive statement by the Georgian Foreign Ministry and express my perplexity with the fact that the statement was issued six weeks following the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic parliamentary elections. The statement notes that the parliamentary elections in Karabakh ‘hamper the conflict resolution process and do not correspond with the framework of the peace talks between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan.’"

Atanesian also noted that the Bishkek agreement which brought forth the peace-fire agreement in 1994 was signed by the speaker of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic parliament.

Furthermore–the parliamentary leader said that based on that agreement it can be deduced that only direct talks between the leaderships of Karabakh and Azerbaijan can stabilize the situation–and–in the future–lead to a final settlement of the conflict.

In this context–Atanesian said–the Karabakh Parliament must play a significant role in establishing relations not only with Azerbaijan but also with other countries in the region–including Georgia.

"Regarding the legitimacy of the parliamentary election in Nagorno-Karabakh–the Republic has existed independently for more than 10 years and the recent parliamentary elections are the third of a kind. The group of international observers who visited the Republic officially stated that the elections were–independent and free–held without any apparent violations. I think the lawfully elected Karabakh authorities–which control the domestic situation and adhere to a successive foreign policy–will only promote the resumption of negotiations with Azerbaijan and stimulate the peacemaking process."

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