Media Floats Reports of Phased Peace Deal on Karabagh

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The leadership of Mountainous Karabagh Republic is opposed to a gradual resolution of the conflict with Azerbaijan–according to RFE/RL–which cited an opposition politician in Yerevan as its source. That deal would enable the region’s population to determine its future status with a referendum.

The news agency also reported that senior Armenian sources said the deal calls for an independence referendum to be held in Karabagh within 10 to 15 years from the liberation of most of the Armenian seized lands in Azerbaijan proper and the restoration of economic links between the two neighbors.

Authorities in Stepanakert have always ruled out Karabagh’s return under Azeri control–saying that any peace accord must formalize its independence. Ghukasian and other Karabagh leaders have not yet publicly commented on the phased settlement which is reportedly discussed by Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"The main demand of the Armenian side is that the issue of Karabagh’s status be resolved in accordance with the people of Karabagh’s right to self-determination," commented ARF-Armenia head Armen Rustamian. "So we must achieve the realization of that right."

"But we don’t have the remaining details," he added. "As they say–the devil is in the details. A few concrete issues must be clarified. For example–the territory on which the referendum is to be held and the electorate that will take part in the vote."

"If we see that the details nullify the idea–that will mean we are again in an illusory situation and we–of course–will not agree to that."

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