ACNIS Examines Artsakh and the Kosovo Model

Armenian Center for National and International Studies
75 Yerznkian Street
Yerevan 0033, Armenia
Tel: (+374 – 10) 52.87.80 or 27.48.18
Fax: (+374 – 10) 52.48.46
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

March 13, 2008

ACNIS Examines Artsakh and the Kosovo Model

Yerevan–The Armenian Center for National and International Studies
(ACNIS) today convened a foreign policy discussion to explore the
recent precedent of international recognition of Kosovo’s independence
and whether this precedent can be applied in the case of Artsakh
(Mountainous Karabagh). The meeting brought together leading analysts,
policy specialists, public and political figures, and media

Welcoming the audience with opening remarks, ACNIS research
coordinator Syuzanna Barseghian expressed the hope that this topic of
broad public interest would be further developed with new and critical
assessments. "Despite the often repeated statements that the case of
Kosovo is exclusive, its independence could change many things in the
methodology used toward other conflicts in the post-Soviet space,
including Artsakh’s juridical accomplishment of liberty and
sovereignty," Barseghian said. "What does the aforesaid model promise
for Armenia and the wider region? What stance should Armenia take? The
mission of today’s roundtable is to find comprehensive answers to
these and many similar questions."

The day’s first speaker was member of parliament Stepan Safarian, who
gave clarifications on whether the Kosovo example really is a
precedent or just another case of the "selective rule of law." In his
view, the real precedent for a legal, constitutional declaration of
decolonization and statehood is Artsakh itself, and all types of
speculations that are made at various levels with respect to Kosovo
are yet another indication of the application of geopolitics-driven
double standards. "Sadly, Armenia not only is missing the Kosovo
‘train,’ but some of its officials are making fairly worrisome, if not
dubious statements that Kosovo carries no precedential effect for
Artsakh," Safarian noted. According to him, Armenia needs to take the
initiative in developing a frame of mind and policy that because of a
number of objective and subjective factors it is no longer possible
for certain national entities–and Mountainous Karabagh in the first
place–to return to their former status. "Tomorrow, March 14, the
Standing Committee on Foreign Relations of the Armenian National
Assembly will finally consider the draft legislation formally to
recognize the Republic of Mountainous Karabagh," Safarian concluded.

In his intervention, Arman Melikian, Mountainous Karabagh Republic’s
former minister of foreign affairs, analyzed the Armenian position
concerning whether or not to formally recognize Kosovo. In his view,
first and foremost Armenia itself should recognize the independence of
MKR. "Kosovo’s example provides the perfect opportunity to adopt laws
which also include the granting of Karabagh citizenship to hundreds of
thousands of our compatriots who were expelled or otherwise emigrated
>From Azerbaijan," Melikian stated, emphasizing that it is
impermissible to barter around the liberated territories. He also
indicated that under the present conditions it is crucial to prove,
with hard legal evidence, to the international community that Artsakh,
with its national boundaries, democratic institutions, and all other
internationally recognized standards, is truly an established
sovereign state.

In his comparative review, chairman Shavarsh Kocharian of the National
Democratic Party drew relevant parallels between Artsakh and Kosovo in
terms of their actual readiness for independence. He underscored that
the legal and historical bases for the declaration of Karabagh’s
independence are flawless. "Firstly, in contrast with Kosovo, whose
borders are being guarded by international peacekeeping forces,
Mountainous Karabagh is capable of defending its independence against
any external aggression. Secondly, the system of national governance
operates efficiently in Artsakh and its armed forces are under the
command of its civilian authorities. And, thirdly, the matter of
Karabagh’s financial security has been resolved successfully,"
Kocharian maintained, adding that the situation is quite the opposite
with respect to Kosovo as foreign donors have provided it three
billion euros in aid. Still, the Armenian side, in Kocharian’s view,
was unable to make proper use of its advantages by unwittingly
allowing a shift in the issue’s vector toward a mere territorial
dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The policy roundtable concluded with an exchange of opinions and
policy recommendations among Armenia’s first Ombudswoman and Heritage
MP Larisa Alaverdian; director Alexander Iskandarian of the Caucasus
Media Institute; Yerevan State University lecturers Aram Harutiunian
and Alexander Manasian; social psychologist Manoog Kaprielian;
chairman Boris Navasardian of the Yerevan Press Club; ACNIS senior
analyst Tatul Hakobian; political scientist Edward Antinian; analyst
Sergey Shakariants; Ashot Khurshudian from the International Center
for Human Development; Serbia’s honorary consul and specialist of
Serbian affairs Babken Simonian; and several others.

Founded in 1994 by Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs Raffi
K. Hovannisian and supported by a global network of contributors,
ACNIS serves as a link between innovative scholarship and the public
policy challenges facing Armenia and the Armenian people in the
post-Soviet world. It also aspires to be a catalyst for creative,
strategic thinking and a wider understanding of the new global
environment. In 2008, the Center focuses primarily on civic education,
democratic development, conflict resolution, and applied research on
critical domestic and foreign policy issues for the state and the

For further information on the Center call (37410) 52-87-80 or
27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; email [email protected] or [email protected];
or visit