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Hardline Group Against Return Of Occupied Azeri Lands


By Hrach Melkumian

An organization of Armenian intellectuals opposed to concessions to Azerbaijan warned on Saturday the authorities in Yerevan and Stepanakert against agreeing to a peace deal envisaging the return of occupied Azerbaijani districts around Nagorno-Karabakh.

The group called the Committee To Protect Liberated Territories said all proposals submitted by international mediators to date demand “unilateral concessions” from the Armenian side and are therefore unacceptable. “There must be no concessions to the Azeris, neither on the [occupied] territories, nor on [Karabakh’s] sovereignty,” one of the committee activists said at a meeting held in the Armenian National Academy of Sciences.

Its Karabakh-born chairman, Lenser Aghalovian, said the committee should set up branches across Armenia in order to enhance its political influence.

The leaderships of Armenia and the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic say they are ready to trade the occupied lands except the strategic Lachin corridor for de-facto independence for the Armenian-populated disputed region. They have largely accepted all peace plans presented by the French, Russian and US co-chairs of the OSCE’s Minsk Group over the past three years.

The peace formula favored by Yerevan and Stepanakert came under attack from Aghalovian’s organization. The committee adopted a statement saying that the Armenian side should freeze the status quo in the Karabakh conflict and expand Armenian settlements in the Azerbaijani lands captured during the 1991-94 war.
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