Armenia, With Eye To Separatist Enclave,Praises Montenegro Independe


AP Worldstream
May 31, 2006

Armenia praised Montenegro’s independence referendum Wednesday in
a statement suggesting it hopes the vote will lend legitimacy to
the sovereignty claims of an ethnic Armenian enclave in neighboring

“We welcome the decision of the authorities and people of Montenegro
on the creation of an independent state,” Foreign Ministry spokesman
Vladimir Karapetian said.

He said Armenia “attaches special importance” to the fact that the
plan to split with Serbia was decided in a referendum, calling it
proof that plebiscites are an internationally recognized way to
“express the rights of the people and resolve such problems.”

Karapetian did not mention Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave within
Azerbaijan that has been controlled by ethnic Armenians since a
1988-1994 war, but his comments suggested Armenia sees the Montenegro
vote as a precedent for the region, whose claim to sovereignty is
not internationally recognized.

In December 1991, amid the breakup of the Soviet Union, voters in
Nagorno-Karabakh overwhelmingly approved a referendum on independence
from Azerbaijan. Its leaders say it wants to be independent or join

But votes in Nagorno-Karabakh have not been recognized by the
international community, which would also be extremely unlikely
to consider a new referendum legitimate if it were not supported
by Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan vehemently opposes sovereignty for Nagorno-Karabakh and
tension remains high, with sporadic clashes between the Azerbaijani
military and Armenian and Karabakh forces that occupy Nagorno-Karabakh
as well as seven neighboring districts of Azerbaijan. International
efforts to promote a resolution have so far failed.

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