Armenia’s Four Steps Towards Resolution Of Karabakh Conflict

ARMENIA’S FOUR STEPS TOWARDS RESOLUTION OF KARABAKH CONFLICT

Lragir, Armenia
Oct 27 2007

During the rally in Yerevan on October 26 the first president
of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan spoke about the resolution of the
Karabakh conflict, which is for him an essential precondition for
the development of Armenia. Levon Ter-Petrosyan said he believes
that Armenia cannot develop unless the Karabakh issue is resolved,
the blockade is lifted, and Armenia participates in major regional
projects.

Levon Ter-Petrosyan also stated that the Karabakh issue is not a
territorial issue but an issue of self-determination. The first
president is surprised that the international community, which says
to uphold human rights, fails to consider 150 thousand people as
human beings. According to Levon Ter-Petrosyan, the international
community tends to view the people of Karabakh as an ethnic minority.

"But since, unfortunately for the international community, Karabakh
is not an extraterritorial but an ethno-territorial entity, the
international conventions on the rights of ethnic minorities do not
refer to them. Consequently, there is only one issue – the fulfillment
of the right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh for self-determination,"
Levon Ter-Petrosyan says. According to him, Azerbaijan is unable to
guarantee the security, freedom and welfare of the people of NKR.

The first president says the president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan and
the foreign minister Vardan Oskanyan have conducted a policy, which
has led to a detrimental situation for Karabakh. "For ten years, the
Armenian government, fooling the world, pretended genuinely interested
in the settlement of the Karabakh issue. In reality their aim has
been to foil, to cause the process to fail," Levon Ter-Petrosyan
says. Meanwhile, he says you cannot cheat the international community
with chief bluffing and maintain the status quo. Levon Ter-Petrosyan
says theoretically it is possible to maintain the status quo for a
lasting period and everyone will eventually accept it, especially
that there are such historical precedents. "The problem is, however,
if Armenia has a possibility to maintain the status quo for 20, 30,
40 years, if its resources will be enough to develop its economy,
overcome the consequences of the blockade and isolation, and finally
if the country will be able to be competitive to Azerbaijan," Levon
Ter-Petrosyan says like ten years ago. He says now Armenia is several
times behind of Azerbaijan’s rate of development. Levon Ter-Petrosyan
says Azerbaijan is more and more relying on oil dollars and making
its stance tougher.

The first president says his opponents may accuse him of instilling
a defensive attitude and preparing for returning Karabakh for his
words. "I am asking them now to calm down. Stop misleading people with
patriotic speeches! Stop hiding the truth! People are smarter, more
logical and reasonable than many of you. Acknowledge at last that no
president of Armenia is able to sell Karabakh, even if he desires it
strongly. Why? Because only Karabakh can decide on its fate, neither
Armenia nor Azerbaijan, but the people of Karabakh.

Secondly, in accordance with a decision passed by the Supreme Council
of the Republic of Armenia in 1992 Armenia cannot sign any document
where Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is mentioned as part of Azerbaijan,"
Levon Ter-Petrosyan says.

After stating that he has never hidden the truth from people and has
never resorted to populism, Levon Ter-Petrosyan went on to present
his vision of the way out of this situation. The first president said
despite the complexity of the situation the way out is clear although
clearness does not mean easiness. He noted that the present Armenian
government which ten years ago rejected the stage-by-stage resolution,
accusing Levon Ter-Petrosyan of that, now have actually agreed to it
because the document presented by the international mediators is the
same stage-by-stage resolution, simply for the sake of the image of the
sides, Levon Ter-Petrosyan says, an indefinite point on a referendum
on status has been included. However, the first president believes that
Robert Kocharyan will not assume responsibility and sign any document,
leaving it up to the next president. As to his vision of the resolution
of the issue, Levon Ter-Petrosyan sets forward four steps.

"First of all, we need to clear our stables and prevent the
reproduction of the criminal regime through a surge of popular
movement, restore constitutional order in the Republic of Armenia,
battle corruption, protectionism, misconduct. To create a truly
democratic, free and legitimate state, realizing that the future of
Karabakh depends on the power of Armenia," says the first president.

The second step, according to him, is to restore the previous format of
the talks in which Karabakh participated as well. "It is difficult to
imagine if Serge Sargsyan becomes president, who is also from Karabakh
and like Kocharyan he will aspire to representing the Karabakh side to
the talks," Levon Ter-Petrosyan says. By the way, Levon Ter-Petrosyan
accused the ex-president of NKR Arkady Ghukasyan of ceding the place
of Karabakh to Armenia, to Robert Kocharyan.

The third step is the change of the government policy on the
settlement, which Levon Ter-Petrosyan thinks is dangerous and even
destructive. "In other words, replace the philosophy of protracting
the resolution and maintaining the status quo by a philosophy of
resolution. Fourthly, it is meaningless to fear or avoid compromise
because there is no other solution in nature. In politics, like in
business, the deals are successful if both parties benefit," Levon
Ter-Petrosyan says, adding that if one party benefits, the deal is
not successful but dangerous because it turns into a landmine.

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