Ghoukassian Rejects Autonomy as Option

STEPANAKERT (Noyan Tapan)–The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Arkady Ghoukassian recently met with representatives of the European Center for Political Studies and the co-authors of the South Caucasus Stability Pact–Michael Emerson and Natalie Tucci–who had come to the region on a fact-finding visit.

During the meeting–the President noted that although not all of the provisions of the Pact were acceptable to Nagorno Karabakh–the project authors’ concern with the problems of the region evidenced the interest of the international community in establishing a comprehensive–lasting peace and stability in the South Caucasus.

The Karabakh presidential press secretary Eduard Atanessian issued an announcement saying–that if Caucasus Stability Pact members "understand self-government–as autonomy–or even the highest level of autonomy–then such an approach would be unacceptable."

This announcement was based on commen’s by Emerson–who outlined that relations between entities in the South Caucasus should be guided by the provisions set forth by the team–the Karabakh presidential office announcement stressed.

Ghoukassian’s office said the terms of the pact–not only aim to study uniqueness of the South Caucasus region–but also look into and define the terminology used by international entities regarding matters of importance in the region.

The unacceptability of the "highest autonomy" was being called into question by Ghoukassian–based on the terminology used by international mediators.

Michael Emerson said that during his meetings with the Presidents of Armenia–Georgia and Azerbaijan–he had the opportunity to get acquainted with the positions of these countries concerning the future of the region–as well as concerning the Pact’s provisions. Emerson also stated that their visit to Stepanakert pursued the same goal.

Arkady Ghoukassian presented Nagorno Karabakh Republic’s position on the settlement. He highlighted the importance of such meetings for the resolution of regional problems–specification of positions and establishment of mutual confidence between the conflicting sides.

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