Karabakh Vote Does Not Require European Approval

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Armenia’s presidential spokesperson Viktor Soghomonyan said in an interview Tuesday with the Mediamax agency that criticism from European organizations on Sunday’s constitutional referendum in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic "do not promote the peaceful settlement of the conflict." Commenting on statemen’s by the OSCE chairman in office and the Minsk Group co-chairman, both of whom characterized the referendum as "counterproductive" to the conflict resolution process. "I have to declare that these types of statemen’s do not contribute to the peaceful settlement of the conflict. It is a disrespectful attitude toward the nationwide referendum in Nagorno Karabakh–an event of historic importance for people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Such approach can only shake the trust in the OSCE and the group of mediators. The citizens of Karabakh have made their choice for freedom and independence both during Sunday’s referendum and 15 years ago. This choice does not need the ratification of any European official," announced Soghomonyan. Former Russian OSCE Minsk Group co-chairman Vladimir Kazimirov also commented on the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic referendum, saying that official declaration by European bodies rejecting the referendum could be viewed as a "de facto" acknowledgment of the vote. "Recognizing or not recognizing [the referendum] is a political and not legal act. All constitutions look to the people for ratification–sometimes through a referendum–and not in outside recognition. Official statemen’s confirmed that the referendum cannot be ignored. It could not be recognized officially, but it has already been recognized de facto," explained Kazimirov. The Russian diplomat opined that perhaps not commenting on the referendum from the European bodies would have benefited the proposed referendum outlined in the new peace package proposed by the Minsk Group. Kazimirov urged the international community to identify the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, since without it there would not be a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Turkey has joined the European Union and the Council of Europe saying it will not recognize the outcome of a constitutional referendum held in the Nagorno-Karabakh on December 10, because the referendum was held while "ignoring international law." A statement issued by Turkey’s foreign ministry described the vote as "a shameless result of the Armenian invasion, which is continuing on the lands of friendly and brotherly Azerbaijan in violation of international law." The statement called on the international community to condemn the referendum and not to recognize its result.

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