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GOVERNMENT, OPPOSITION REPRESENTATIVES DOWNPLAY IMMEDIATE WAR THREAT


By Nane Atshemian
Despite the recent border tensions and more frequent ceasefire regime violations, both leader of the parliamentary majority, Republican Galust Sahakian and opposition National Revival party leader Albert Bazeyan do not see an immediate threat of renewed hostilities.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday both said that after the failure to make progress in peace talks before and after the Rambouillet meeting of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan Armenia’s paramount task is improving the internal political and moral climate in the country.

Commenting on the recent statements by President Robert Kocharian, in particular regarding Armenia’s recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence, Bazeyan called this approach ‘premature and dangerous’.

“In one of his statements, Aliev said that even in a hundred years’ time Karabakh cannot be independent from Azerbaijan. It means that all talks about a future referendum are devoid of sense. And generally, if the opposite party does not express any willingness to make concessions, then what are we negotiating around?” Bazeyan queried.

Sahakian, for his part, said: “I don’t think that the meetings of the two countries’ presidents have the goal of signing a document in view. There is no such issue on the agenda. Simply an attempt is being made to draft a document that naturally will be discussed in Armenia and Karabakh, and we all will have an opportunity to express our opinions.”

Speaking of the recent talks in Rambouillet, he said that nothing happened there, just as he had predicted; nor could anything happen, as, according to him, the matter concerned Karabakh’s independence.

In Sahakian’s opinion, Karabakh has a good status today and all it needs is to have it formulated legally. He says that de facto the international community has accepted Karabakh’s independence, and, according to him, to this testify the direct economic relations different states currently have with Nagorno-Karabakh.

Sahakian believes that there is no military solution to the conflict.

Bazeyan shares this opinion and considers the resumption of war highly unlikely, as ‘there are no preconditions for that and it is not suitable to the international community’. But he says that Armenia must be ready for that economically and its people morally.

“The process stalls, it is a reality. And if it continues like this, it is obvious that the future winner will be the party, or the people or state, that solves its internal problems in a better way, developing economy and consolidating the society,” he explained.

Bazeyan says he once again witnessed the downfall of the nation’s common spirit and faith during the public rally commemorating the anniversary of the Sumgait events. He said he had seen some artificiality at that gathering in the square, but not something spontaneous. Sahakian admitted that he was not particularly impressed either. According to him, speakers in the square on that day voiced many old-fashioned approaches. “I think that there is no standing before the civilized world with formulas of the 1990s,” he added.

At the same time, Bazeyan hurried to warn the media not to misinterpret his common grounds with Sahakian on some issues as a lack of ideological struggle between the authorities and the opposition. “If my views on some points coincide with Mr. Sahakian’s, it does not at all mean that the authorities and the opposition are nearly the same and that there is no struggle. We continue to struggle,” he emphasized.

The two also spoke about the tense situation in Javakhk, an Armenian-populated province of Georgia. Sahakian tends to view the developments in this area from the social rather than political perspective, adding that solutions should be sought in the context of Armenian-Georgian relations. He disagrees with the opinion voiced by Georgian Parliament Speaker Nino Burjanadze that Javakhk Armenians are raising a political issue through foreign or some other forces.

Bazeyan thinks that Armenian authorities have much to do to prevent a further exacerbation, as, he says, the Armenians of Javakhk face not only social problems, but also problems of preserving their national identity. “And politically, perhaps it is worth considering at least a cultural autonomy for them. And we must assist them in such matters,” thinks Bazeyan, adding that the tension in Javakhk does harm only to Armenia.
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