Karabakh Presidential Aide to Run for Armenian Presidency

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–An aide to the President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and former Foreign Minister, Arman Melikian, presented his resignation on Tuesday to the Karabakh President and announced his plans to put forward his candidacy in the upcoming Armenian presidential race.
Melikian made the announcement at a press conference where he accused Levon Ter-Petrosian and Serzh Sarkisian of having adopted tactics that can bring forth civil unrest and possible confrontation. He said both the Pan-Armenian National Movement and the Republican Party offer dangerous and threatening alternatives to the people and he believes that his nomination will help to a certain extent to stave off and soften this danger.
"I do not consider myself to be an alternative candidate, but I have my view of taking the country out of today’s situation," he declared. The unofficial launch of election struggle, he added, has already created an environment conducive to civil clashes, which may damage Armenia’s position in the process of Karabakh conflict settlement.
Melikian noted that while Ter-Petrosian lambastes the current regime for corruption, he nevertheless maintains his prior positions regarding the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, and in essence, is ready to hand over the liberated territories. Meanwhile, Sarkisian does not guarantee the territories will not be handed over and denies ongoing corruption in Armenia. Neither candidate provides a favorable future, Melikian said.
According to Melikian, the fate of the Karabakh conflict settlement greatly depends on the course and results of the forthcoming presidential elections in Armenia and any "return of liberated territories can empty Nagorno-Karabakh in the future."
Melikian suggested new approaches with regard to the Karabakh peace process, noting in particular, Karabakh’s direct involvement in the negotiations.
"There are no real precedents for the return of these territories, and Armenian must not address these issues," Melikian said. According to him, the dialogue should be only about refugees and inhabiting those territories with refugees. Armenia’should begin negotiations with the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh over its official recognition, he added.
Melikian noted that such a process may take a long time, however, its existence is very important. He added that Armenia’should invalidate the 1995 decision to publicly unite the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region with Armenia. This decision, he added, does not take into consideration today’s reality and borders.
Melikian mentioned that he will begin the nomination process on the following day. As regards to his resignation, the question as to when he will resign is still uncertain.

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