By Astghik Bedevian
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) will pull out of Armenia’s governing coalition if President Serzh Sarkisian presses ahead with territorial concessions to Azerbaijan, a leader of the nationalist party said on Friday.
“If the actions of the supreme authorities run contrary to our principles -- and by that we mean what we consider our national interests in the first instance -- … then of course we will have no common course to follow with those authorities,” warned deputy parliament speaker Hrayr Karapetian .
Karapetian specifically referred to the status of Nagorno-Karabakh and the future of the surrounding Azerbaijani districts fully or partly occupied by Armenians during the 1991-1994 war.
The liberation of virtually all of those districts is a key element of international mediators’ existing peace proposals. The peace accord proposed by the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group also seems to uphold the Karabakh Armenians’ right to legitimize their independence from Azerbaijan in a future referendum. Sarkisian and other Armenian officials have said this formula is essentially acceptable to Yerevan.
But Dashnaktsutyun, which is represented in Sarkisian’s government by three ministers, seems to think otherwise. “We are against the [settlement] variant that is being considered at the ongoing negotiations mainly because it envisages the return of territories,” the party’s chief foreign policy spokesman, Giro Manoyan, said on October 20.
Dashnaktsutyun chose to join the ruling coalition despite challenging Sarkisian in the February 19 presidential election and strongly criticizing the state of affairs in Armenia under his predecessor Robert Kocharian. Its leaders warned afterwards they will not hesitate to quit the government if Sarkisian fails to implement his domestic reform agenda.
The warnings led some members of Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) to publicly state that Dashnaktsutyun should not have cut a power-sharing with the president in the first place.
(Photolur photo: Hrayr Karapetian.)