MKR President Shrugs off Azeri Rhetoric

YEREVAN (Yerkir–RFE/RL)–Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR) President Arkady Ghukasian shrugged off negative rhetoric on Wednesday from Azerbaijani authorities–about the self-proclaimed independence of the nation.

"I believe that Karabagh’s independence can not be a subject of negotiations," said Ghukasian–in an address to Armenia’s Parliament–"We will not abandon our independence."

He emphasized that Azerbaijan is not prepared to start a war that it could win. "I think that they understand this very well in Azerbaijan. We must–nevertheless–continue to strengthen our defense."

Ghukasian congratulated the newly elected members of the Parliament–outlining their role in the process of Karabagh’s conflict regulation–and the necessity of Karabagh’s presence in international matters.

For its part–Azerbaijan refuses to accept Karabagh as a separate party to the conflict and has preferred to discuss the problem in direct talks with Armenia.

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