Armenian Parliament Delays Karabakh Recognition Vote

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–An opposition faction in the Armenian National Assembly has delayed the vote on its proposed legislation obliging Yerevan to formally recognize the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic after the parliament’s political majority warned to opt out of the procedure.

Armenia’s ruling Republican Party and its junior coalition partners, Prosperous Armenia and Orinats Yerkir, had earlier voiced their concerns that passing the bill advocated by the opposition Heritage party at this moment could be harmful to the ongoing internationally mediated talks over the Karabakh conflict.

In response, Heritage party leader Raffi Hovannisian announced the faction’s decision to postpone the vote until December.

He said on Thursday his discussions with other parliamentary leaders on Wednesday led the party to postpone the vote until December 9 “to see the results” from the OSCE summit in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana due on December 1-2.  “This is the final decision,” Hovannisian emphasized.

Talking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Wednesday, Hovannisian said his discussions with the parliament speaker and leaders of the four other parliamentary factions had not produced a compromise and said the vote would be held by all means unless such a compromise was found until noon on Thursday.

The political parties of Armenia’s ruling coalition issued a statement later on Thursday explaining their decision to opt out of the vote if it was held.

“Supporting the efforts and initiatives aimed at achieving the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s international recognition, we are convinced that Nagorno-Karabakh’s unilateral recognition by the Republic of Armenia at this moment does not proceed from the constructive position assumed by Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian in the negotiations continuing within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group,” the parties said.

The latest round of OSCE Minsk Group sanctioned Karabakh took place between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, through Russia’s mediation, on Wednesday. The meeting in Astrakhan, in southern Russia, resulted in a declaration by which the sides agreed to swap prisoners of war and bodies of soldiers and civilians killed in recent skirmishes near Karabakh.

The sides also reportedly agreed to work towards resolving their differences regarding the basic principles of settlement around which a peace agreement should be negotiated.

News agencies quoted Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as saying at a press conference after the meeting that Armenia and Azerbaijan could reach agreement on the principles by earlier December when a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is planned in Kazakhstan.

Armenia has been reluctant to formally recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state. Yerevan also represents Karabakh at talks with Azerbaijan as official Baku refuses to recognize the republic. Officials in Baku have also repeatedly warned that Armenia’s recognizing Karabakh as independent from Azerbaijan will increase the likelihood of renewed hostilities in the conflict zone.

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5 Comments

  1. Fred said:

    Kosovo would not have been recognised by world organisations untill all Kosovans spoke in one voice for their independence. World organisations bare waight to the unified voice by one nation. It is time for all Armenians to recognise Artsakh as a seporate state. Seporate from Azerbayjan. We can not expect the world to conceed on self determination rights of people of Artsakh, if Armenia itelf conciders Artsakh as a reagion of Azerbayjan. The simplicity of this issue is mind bogling. It is bafling me why Armenians are dragging their foot over this issue. For god sakes Artsakh does not need protecting from Azerbayjan, they can do that all by themselves. They just need the rest of us to get some back bone and support them in sipirit. For the love of God Armenians, stop acting like sheeps for once in your lives and stand for your rights. Fight for what is your’s never conceed anything to any one for any reason.

  2. Raffi Boyadjian said:

    I just don’t understand it. What is this government doing ? Armenia not recognizing Karabakh ?
    Some backbone please ! Delaying the vote , give me a break !

  3. Hovik said:

    Armenia has not guts to recognize because of Turkey.Dont forget,there are 200,000 Armenians live in Turkey and recognition would be catastrophe for their lives.Plus,recognition means Turkey and Azerbaijan will deal on isolation of Armenia permanently.Its not as easy as it seams

  4. Samvel said:

    Indeed this is quite strange. Ask yourselves this:

    A. Should NK give some districts to Azerbaijan and risk an attack in the future whereby Azeris have the advantage in case they decide to start another war to take the rest of NK?

    Or

    B. Should NK give not one inch to Azerbaijan under any circumstance?

    If the Armenian people decide on A, that means self-determination for the Armenians of NK should not exist, they have no rights, and Armenians totally trust a Turkish nation like Azerbaijan.

    If the Armenian people decide on B, then there is nothing to negotiate and nothing to discuss. OSCE, Minsk blah blah blah means nothing. Only one sentence solves the problem: “We accept peace as it is” and go on.

  5. ara said:

    NKR should wait for Azerfakejan to wage a war, and take more lands to make a bigger buffer, and load the whole buffer in mines. anyone who crosses gets blown up.

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