STEPANAKERT (Armradio)-Armenia’should either recognize the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic or sign a mutual defense agreement with it, Armenian President Robert Kocharian said Monday during a visit to Karabakh.
Such an agreement will prevent Azerbaijan from escalating its war rhetoric, Kocharian averred.
Kocharian’s statemen’s come amid growing tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan rising from Baku’s growing belligerence toward Karabakh and OSCE Minsk Group settlement process.
The Armenian President was in Karabakh Monday on invitation by Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian. During his working visit Kocharian met with Sahakian, Karabakh National Assembly Speaker Ashot Gulian, Karabakh Prime Minister Ara Harutiunian, and other members of the republic’s government and legislature. Sahakian awarded the Armenian President with the Order of Gregory the Illuminator for exceptional service to Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
The world is changing, Kocharian said, referring to the potential international precedents being set by Kosavar independence. Recent developmen’s, he explained, have created new situations in the region.
It’s time for discussions to be held in Armenia regarding Karabakh’s status and the overall state of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process, he said.
Azerbaijan is attempting to change the framework of the settlement talks from the Minsk Group to the United Nations, he explained.
Baku’s growing belligerence is leaving Armenia and Karabakh little choice but to alter their approaches to the negotiations process as well as the overall security and final status of Nagorno-Karabakh, he added.
"There are still challenges, and we all must work toward the final recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic," Kocharian said.