ARF Bureau Declaration

The meeting of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan–which is soon to be held at the initiative of the US Secretary of State Colin Powell–attests to the fact that negotiation processes over the Artsakh issue have entered a new and decisive phase. Hence–it is important that our people demonstrate prudence and consistency at each stage of these negotiations.

Greatly appreciating both the continuing efforts of the two Presidents to find a peaceful resolution–as well as the steps taken in this regard by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair states–the ARF finds it imperative that the following principles be adopted during the ensuing negotiations:

a) Any agreement aiming at the resolution of the Artsakh issue must recognize the unification of Artsakh with Armenia–or–at a minimum–the independence of Artsakh.

b) The process of resolving the Artsakh issue must not be led by artificial deadlines imposed by outside forces–for a so-called "immediate" resolution.

c) The delineation of the borders of Artsakh should be guided by principles of historical rights and guarantees of the real–namely by the geographical and territorial security of Artsakh and Armenia. The return of the occupied areas of the Shahumyan region–the Gedashen sub-region–the plains of Martakert–the Noyeberyan and Tavush regions is not negotiable. The Armenia-Artsakh geographical connection must be militarily impenetrable and must therefore extend the entire length of the border.

d) Any possible communication between Nakhitchevan and Azerbaijan cannot be realized at the expense of the territorial integrity–sovereignty and national security of Armenia.

e) Turkey cannot be considered as a negotiating party during the negotiations over the Artsakh issue. Moreover–Turkey cannot act as an arbitrator in these processes–as it has explicitly allied itself with Azerbaijan from the very start of the issue.

f) And finally–it is important that during the negotiations to be held on United States territory–the US State Department remain meticulously unbiased and refrain from the temptation of interfering in favor of Azerbaijan.

Taking into consideration the pan-Armenian nature and national importance of the Artsakh Issue–it is imperative that from here onward the authorities of the Republic of Armenia examine the issue jointly with all the political forces of Armenia and Artsakh.

ARF Bureau

20 March 2001

Yerevan

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