No Agreement Without Karabakh’s Consent

STEPANAKERT (Yerkir)–Nagorno-Karabagh President Arkady Ghoukassian announced during a news conference on November 8–that Karabagh must be represented at talks concerning the Karabagh peace process–and that no agreement should be signed without Karabagh’s consent–citing the 1995 Budapest truce agreement signed by Armenia–Azerbaijan and a representative of Nagorno Karabagh. Ghoukassian went on to say that the conflict settlement process is currently limited to visits by the Minsk Group convoys. "Although we assess the Group’s work as being very passive–this format is the most acceptable one to us," Ghoukassian said–and added that Karabagh supports meetings between the president of Armenia an Azerbaijan. "Although Armenia and Azerbaijan are on the eve of elections and it is hard to expect any real solution–a solution pleasing all parties concerned should be found soon. Artsakh has substantial ability and is ready to protect–together with Armenia–its people’s right to freedom and independence," said Ghoukassian. Ghoukassian attributed Azerbaijan’s calls to restart the war as a pre-election campaign maneuver. "There is no alternative to political regulation of the conflict–but this does not mean Artsakh is not ready for war," Ghoukassian stated–adding that Artsakh’s preparedness for war guarantees there will be no war. "The Defense Army of Karabakh is powerful and is able to defend the de facto independence of Nagorno Karabakh," said the NKR President. He continued to say that many social problems could be addressed if it were not for [preparing] the army–but the people of Karabakh realize they need the army for their own protection: Azerbaijan would not hesitate to start a war if it were ready for one.

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