Kocharian speech to Council of Europe turning point for Karabakh

Armenian leader’s speech to Council of Europe turning point for Karabakh –
paper

Hayots Ashkarh, Yerevan
25 Jun 04

Armenian President Robert Kocharyan’s speech to the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe has moved the settlement of the
Nagornyy Karabakh conflict to the legal plane, according to an article
in an Armenian newspaper. Kocharyan played Armenia’s “trump card”,
when he said that Karabakh had never been part of independent
Azerbaijan, so recognition of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity had
nothing to do with Karabakh, according to the article. “Europe can use
its real weapon, great international and political authority, and at
one stroke, by means of the NKR’s independence, cut the Karabakh knot
and ensure stable peace in the whole region,” the article concluded.
The following is the text of Vardan Grigoryan’s report in Hayots
Ashkarh on 25 June headlined “The real way of peace”:

It should be said that by means of Robert Kocharyan’s speech in
Strasbourg Armenian foreign policy has made that turning point in the
Karabakh negotiating process, which society was expecting for over 10
years. This was the transfer of the Karabakh settlement process to the
legal plane.

Robert Kocharyan’s strict, full and logical speech from the PACE
[Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe] rostrum and
explanation of separate points of the Karabakh issue during the
briefing with deputies, was a turning point in the history of the
positions adopted by Armenian diplomacy on Karabakh. Saying that
Armenia has always been in favour of a peaceful settlement of the
conflict, has always accepted the proposal of the mediating parties
for a common state, the Paris principles, the Key West accords, at the
same time from the high European rostrum the Armenian president
revealed the trump card of the Armenian party: the legal content of
the Karabakh issue. That is:

a) The NKR has never been within an independent Azerbaijan, for this
reason recognition of the territorial integrity of the latter has
nothing to with Nagornyy Karabakh;

b) Nagornyy Karabakh declared its independence along with Azerbaijan
(and even a little earlier) and on the same legal basis, the USSR
constitution and laws, two independent states were formed on the
territory of the former Soviet Azerbaijan;

c) The legal grounds of the NKR independence are flawless, so in such
conditions, instead of the trite “compromises” often applied by the
world community, these grounds should be discussed and gain their
strict assessment, which have the same meaning;

d) From the point of view of preserving peace only the package option
for a settlement poses a lesser danger than today’s status quo. So any
breaking of the latter, without including all the important problems
connected with the Karabakh conflict, will unavoidably lead to a drop
in the parties’ motivation to reach a final settlement and this may
have unpredictable consequences.

All this complex of questions shows that at the current moment in the
negotiating process Armenia is trying to solve three main problems:

1. In proclaiming its devotion to the Paris principles and Key West
accords, which have become a logical ending of the model for a
political settlement, Armenia has been presented before the world
community as a constructive party which is ready for mutual
compromise;

2. Being ahead of Azerbaijan in terms of constructiveness and
commitment to the accords, at the same time the Armenian party
strictly sets its bottom line – the Key West accords, from which it
cannot retreat;

3. As Azerbaijan is the initiator of revising the accords, the
Armenian party supports the world community in transferring the
problem to the legal plane in order to get out of the deadlock, that
is, in international law not to look for the “golden mean” but to
decide who Nagornyy Karabakh, which is strictly preserving all the
laws proclaimed in its independence, belongs to? We think that in this
way we may reach a quick and fruitful settlement of the Karabakh
issue. That is, by discussing the legal grounds of the NKR’s
independence and establishing that they are flawless Europe may settle
all the problems in one go and enter our region. In these conditions
Azerbaijan will have no option but to recognize the fact, as the main
subject of the argument – Nagornyy Karabakh will be immediately taken
out of the field of competition between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Europe
can use its real weapon, great international and political authority,
and at one stroke, by means of the NKR’s independence, cut the
Karabakh knot and ensure stable peace in the whole region.

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