No Alternative to Karabakh Independence, Says Presidential Spokesperson

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenian presidential spokesperson Vladimir Soghomonyan said Friday that there were no alternatives to Karabakh’s independence, however hinting that if the peace process fails, Armenia’s recognition of Karabakh might be imminent.
Soghomonyan denied argumen’s in favor of changing the negotiations format saying Armenian authorities believe that it is the best one. He said taking the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict case to other international bodies, particularly to the UN as pursued by Azerbaijan, would only hamper progress in settling the dispute.
“The ultimate goal is to settle the conflict through negotiations,” said Soghomonyan adding that there was no alternative to Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence.
“If the Armenian side sees that the negotiation process has become meaningless and the dialogue is senseless, Armenia’s recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh may become a step to secure the security of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia populations,” he said.
The presidential spokesman added, however, that Armenia had de facto recognized Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence long ago. He cited President Kocharian’s participation in the Karabakh presidential inauguration last week as an example.
Soghomonyan also said that Armenian and Azeri presidents may have another meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on the sidelines of a CIS summit to be hosted by this city in October.
He said whether the two presidents need another meeting would be determined by the upcoming visit, to the region, by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen, who were scheduled to arrive in Yerevan Saturday.
Soghomonyan also discussed the upcoming presidential elections, saying that President Kocharian had already said that he would like to see Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian as his successor.
Soghomonyan said Kocharian will endorse Sarkisian’s presidential bid, because “there is no other political figure in Armenia as skilled and seasoned as Serzh Sarkisian and with the capacity to carry out the duties of president.”
In discussing Turkey-Armenian relations, Soghomonyan said that official Yerevan did not expect the election of Abdullah Gul as president of Turkey to prompt a breakthrough in the stalemate in the relations.
Soghomonyan, said that Gul has been serving for years as foreign minister and has been in the political team that has been governing Turkey in the last years.
“If Turkey’s leadership wanted to do something to improve relations with Armenia it could have done so when Gul was foreign minister,” he argued.

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