Karabakh Must Endorse Any Peace Deal

STEPANAKERT (Armenpress)–Foreign affairs minister of Nagorno Karabakh Naira Melkoumian slammed Azeri authorities for continuing to threaten the people of Karabakh–adding that an autonomous state proposed by Baku was not acceptable to Karabakh authorities.

Melkoumian met with a group of Turkish journalists–who traveled to Stepanakert–the capital of Nagorno Karabakh–after spending two days in Yerevan.

The Yerevan Press Club invited the Turkish reporters to Yerevan. Melkoumian went on to say that Nagorno Karabakh–should be granted the status of "an independent structure."

She also emphasized the need "to establish an atmosphere of confidence" in the region and recalled Karabakh’s proposal to allocate its water resources for the irrigation of contiguous Azerbaijani districts. Melkoumian regretted that "Azerbaijan refused this manifestation of goodwill."

In addition–Azerbaijan rejected peace proposals by international mediators three times in the past four years. Touching on the problem of occupied territories and the return of refugees–Melkoumian noted that these problems can be resolved only after an agreement on a final settlement in Nagorno Karabakh is reached.

The journalists also met with Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian who reiterated his position that any peace accord reached by Armenia and Azerbaijan will not be put in effect unless it is endorsed by the Karabakh government.

He said that the Karabakh leadership must become a party to peace negotiations if the continuing international efforts to settle the conflict are to succeed.

Earlier in Yerevan the reporters visited the headquarters of the Armenian Church in Etchmiadzin–and the depository of old man’scripts Matenadaran. They had diner in a Yerevan restaurant where the chef is a Turk.

Back in Yerevan the journalists are also expected to hold meetings on Monday with leaders of Armenia’s main political groups represented in the parliament.

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