Armenia Must Recognize Karabakh before South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Says Sarkisian

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Armenia will not join Russia in recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia or follow the West’s example and recognize Kosovo until it has officially recognized the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Armenia’s President, Serzh Sarkisian told reporters Tuesday during a press conference before leaving for the 63rd United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Armenia has yet to recognize the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic because it is negotiating with Azerbaijan for a peaceful settlement, he said, adding, however, that the Nagorno-Karabakh people’s right to self determination must nevertheless be recognized.

“Armenia’seeks a solution to the conflict through peace talks,” he said, noting that recognition of independence was used as a last resort in the case of Kosovo, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. “If all other possibilities have been exhausted, Armenia will recognize the independence of Nagorno Karabakh,” Sarkisian said.

Armenia will never compromise Karabakh’s right to determine its own destiny, he added, reiterating the need for the international community to recognize Karabakh’s right to self determination.

The issue at hand, he explained, is that during Soviet rule, Azerbaijan failed to secure the life and prosperity of the people of Karabakh, whose homeland had been arbitrarily placed under Azeri rule in the early 1920s.

“The people of Karabakh lived in that territory for thousands of years and now such conditions may be created for the people of Karabakh to continue their secure life in that territory,” he said referring to the republic’s 17 years of democratic self-government. “During the Soviet era, when Karabakh was part of Azerbaijan, the government in Baku demonstrated security for Karabakh’s inhabitance was impossible under Azerbaijani rule.

Sarkisian’s commen’s came ahead of a trilateral meeting scheduled for Friday between Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and his Azeri and Turkish counterparts. The talks, which will take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, will focus on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and signal Turkey’s growing influence in the Caucasus.

in New York, Sarkisian will meet with UN Secretary General ban Ki-moon and his counterparts from a number of countries. He is also scheduled to meet with representatives of the Armenian National Committee of America, the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian community of New York. He will also visit the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America.

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