MKR Status Must be Clarified says ARF Faction Rep. Mkrtchian

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–On April 12–ARF parliamentary faction representative Levon Mkrtchian told his colleagues within the National Assembly that the conflict over Karabagh cannot be settled without first addressing the status of the Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR). The issue–Mkrtchian stressed–directly impacts Armenia’s national security.

"Let us not forget that the Republic of Armenia’s president is the man who–during Karabagh’s most critical period–endangered his family’s safety in order to lead defense forces," Mkrtchian told parliamentarians. "This serves to show that the president and his political allies will not budge on their demand of resolving the conflict through a ‘package deal.’ There can be no resolution without clarifying [MKR’s] status."

Meanwhile–according to a survey conducted by the Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS)–a private think-tank–Armenia’s continue to consider Armenian control over Mountainous Karabagh non-negotiable–according to an opinion poll released on Tuesday.

Of the 1,900 people randomly polled across the country–at least 84 percent believe that Karabagh must either be independent or become an integral part of Armenia under any peaceful settlement. Only 2.6 percent said they would support its return under Azerbaijani rule. The Armenian administration–likewise–insists that it will never agree to such a solution.

The poll also revealed widespread pessimism about the conflict’s resolution–with less than a quarter of respondents believing that it will happen in the next five years. The majority–56 percent–described external forces–including them the United States and Russia–as the number one obstacle to Karabagh peace–and only 23.8 percent laid the blame on Azerbaijan.

Armenian public opinion appears almost evenly split on the question of the decade-long status quo in the conflict zone. Almost 40 percent of respondents believe the dispute should remain "frozen," while 34 percent said it is not good for the Armenian side.

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