By Emil Danielyan
Armenia condemned on Thursday Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova for joining Azerbaijan in strongly criticizing Sunday’s referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh on a constitution that declares the disputed territory an independent state.
In a joint statement issued earlier this week, the foreign ministers of the four ex-Soviet states making up the so-called GUAM grouping expressed serious concern at the holding of the referendum, saying that it will undermine international efforts to resolve the Karabakh conflict. The vote can not be legitimate because it runs counter to Azerbaijan’s constituion and international law, they charged.
Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian denounced the GUAM statement as “misguided.” “Once again, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova are playing into the hands of Azerbaijan by meddling into an issue which does not concern them,” he said in written comments released by his office.
Oskanian said that the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has built a “lawful, well-regulated internal governance system” and therefore has a legitimate right for a basic law. He also insisted that the vote will not roll back considerable progress made in recent Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks.
“Just the opposite. At the core of the negotiations to reach a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict is the right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh for self-determination,” argued Oskanian.