Armenia Blasts GUAM Criticism of Karabakh Vote

STRASBOURG, France (RFE/RL)–Armenia condemned Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova on Thursday for joining Azerbaijan in strongly criticizing Sunday’s constitutional referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh. In a joint statement issued earlier this week, the foreign ministers of the four ex-Soviet states making up the so-called GUAM grouping expressed serious concern at the holding of the referendum, saying that it will undermine international efforts to resolve the Karabakh conflict. The vote cannot be legitimate because it runs counter to Azerbaijan’s constitution and international law, they charged. Foreign Minister denounced the GUAM statement as "misguided."Once again, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova are playing into the hands of Azerbaijan by meddling into an issue which does not concern them," he said in written commen’s released by his office. Oskanian said that the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has built a "lawful, well-regulated internal governance system" and therefore has a legitimate right for a basic law. He also insisted that the vote will not roll back considerable progress made in recent Armenian-Azeri peace talks. "Just the opposite. At the core of the negotiations to reach a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict is the right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh for self-determination," argued Oskanian.

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