Karabakh Independence Deserves International Recognition, Says Sahakian

YEREVAN (ArmRadio)-Nagorno-Karabakh President Bako Sahakian said that the international community should recognize his republic as an independent state.

“I think not only experts but simply people familiar with the Karabakh confirm can unanimously confirm that the Nagorno Karabakh Republic was proclaimed on the basis of all international norms and principles,” said Sahakian.

This comment by the president comes after a statement released by OSCE Minsk Group’s Co-Chairs during the latter half of the G8 summit, which called for the implementation of an updated Madrid document in order to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Madrid principals call for “the return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijani control and an interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh providing guarantees for security and self-government.” The United States, Russia and France all reaffirmed this document’s merit.

That statement, issued by the presidents of France, Russia, and the US, was condemned by a pan-Armenian conference held in Stepanakert over the weekend, where over 120 delegates from around the world had met to discuss the current crisis in Armenian diplomacy.

“Any document, any initiative that does not presuppose the participation of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic is relative, and our efforts are now aimed at ensuring that such documents and initiatives are coordinated with us and, moreover, that without fail everything takes place with our participation,” Sahakian said.

Asked about the possibility of a military resolution to the conflict, Sahakian said, “remaining adherents to the peaceful conflict resolution, we have always said that should Azerbaijan decide to resolve the issue in this way [aggressively], it will receive the appropriate rebuff.”

Sahakian’s statement comes as a result of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s inability to rule out a “military solution the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.” Aliyev was quoted Tuesday as saying that though “more encouraging dynamics” have formed in the process of the conflict’s settlement, he has found the initial results “insufficient” for the “establishment of the final peace.”

“We understand Armenia’s concerns and are ready to consider corresponding issues,” said Aliyev. “We are also ready to provide the needed autonomy level to Nagorno-Karabakh, but only within the framework of the united Azerbaijani state.”

“Unfortunately, I cannot totally rule out a military solution, as we have the total and based on international laws right to restore our territorial integrity that not a single country questions.”

Aliyev said, however, that Baku “intends to continue to seek the conflict settlement by peaceful methods.”

In a related development, the United States’ Mediator of the Minsk Group, Matt Bryza, has been quoted by Azeri news outlets as saying that the “strengthened dialogue” between Armenia and Azerbaijan has brought mediation efforts to a “new and hopeful level,” and that Russia’s contributions to the effort are welcomed.

“We hope the presidents’ meeting on July 17 will build on the important progress they made in St. Petersburg on June 4, and clear the way to finalize the set of basic principles proposed by the Minsk Group co-chairs in Madrid in November 2007,” said Bryza.

Bryza’s statement comes prior to Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian’s visit to Russia to meet with Aliyev and Russian President Demetiri Medvedev.

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