By Ruzanna Khachatrian
The Armenian parliament called on the government Tuesday to pursue a “more proactive” policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict which it said would boost prospects for international recognition of the Armenian-populated territory’s secession from Azerbaijan.
In a rare resolution, the National Assembly said Yerevan should also step up links with the ethnic Armenian leadership of Karabakh in order to ward off a possible Azerbaijani “aggression.” It accused Azerbaijan of torpedoing international efforts to settle the Karabakh conflict that are spearheaded by the United States, Russia and France.
Senior Armenian officials already made such allegations following last month’s deadly skirmishes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces deployed around Karabakh and what they see as a toughening of Baku’s position. In particular, President Ilham Aliev rejected any peaceful settlement that would fall short of restoring Azerbaijani control over Karabakh. He also said that Baku will never agree to a referendum of self-determination in the disputed enclave.
The holding of such a vote is one of the key provisions of a framework peace accord drafted by the U.S., French and Russian co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. The mediators said earlier this year that the conflicting parties have already essentially agreed on their proposed basic principles of Karabakh peace. They still hope that the agreement will be formalized in the course of this year.
President Robert Kocharian said shortly before his April 9 resignation that Armenia should recognize the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) as an independent state if Baku pulls out of the Minsk Group process. He said Yerevan should at least strengthen its political and military links with the NKR, a view echoed by the Armenian parliament.
Its resolution stressed that the Karabakh Armenian’s right to self-determination is “non-negotiable.” The document also said that Yerevan should prepare “alternative possibilities” of achieving international recognition of the NKR’s independence if the talks sponsored by the Minsk Group finally collapse.