MFA: H.Gasparian, Foreign Ministry Spokesman, comments PACE res.

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January 27, 2005

Hamlet Gasparian, Foreign Ministry Spokesman, answers question by Armenpress
News Agency

Question: Yesterday the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
heard the “Atkinson Report” on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, and passed a
resolution. What is your assessment?

Answer: At the outset, it must be said that we value highly the Council of
Europe’s efforts aimed at the South Caucasus, and in particular, at
establishing stability and long-term peace in the region. At the same time,
notwithstanding its positive points, the Atkinson Report was, in our view,
generally faulty, since it focused on the consequences of the conflict,
without delving into its causes. Further, we believe that the process of
amending the report was not an objective one. One of our amendments, which
even had the support of the Rapporteur himself, did not pass because of the
Turkish chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Political Affairs Committee.

Nevertheless, we welcome the various principles which are reaffirmed in the
document by PACE. Specifically, that Resolution reaffirms that independence
and secession of a regional territory “may only be achieved through a lawful
and peaceful process based on democratic support by the inhabitants of such
territory” as well as that “the problem cannot be resolved by use of
military force, that the status and future of a population must be
determined by that population.”

We also consider important the amendment which had (which was our proposal):
the PACE reminder of the obligation which Armenia assumed upon Council of
Europe membership – to use its influence with the Armenians of Nagorno
Karabakh in order to achieve a resolution to the conflict. This effectively
reinforces the understanding that the conflict is between Azerbaijan and
Nagorno Karabakh.

Still, this document is not a binding document. It is of an advisory and
declarative nature. The negotiations will continue within the Minsk Group
framework, and we believe that the positive and negative aspects of the
Resolution cannot have a specific affect on the actual negotiations.