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Ex-Foreign Minister Calls Karabakh Process ‘Alarming’


Armenia -- Aleksandr Arzumanian, former FM, speaking at a press conference, Yerevan, 09July, 2009

Armenia -- Aleksandr Arzumanian, former FM, speaking at a press conference, Yerevan, 09July, 2009

Armenia’s former foreign minister Aleksandr Arzumanian has voiced concerns over the latest developments in the continuing peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, describing the principles of conflict settlement proposed by international mediators as “unacceptable” for the Armenian side.

Six out of more than a dozen basic principles of settlement submitted to the negotiating parties as part of the Madrid Document in 2007 were unveiled by the United States, Russia and France, the nations brokering a Nagorno-Karabakh solution, at the G8 summit in Italy earlier this month.

At a press conference on Friday, Arzumanian dwelt on several of the principles, including proposed Armenian territorial concessions to Azerbaijan and a delayed status for Nagorno-Karabakh to be determined at some indefinite future date.

Arzumanian, currently a leading member of Armenia’s main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), in particular, said that before the Madrid principles discussion was about the withdrawal of Nagorno-Karabakh forces, which implies other additional agreements, such as the determination of under what regime the vacated territories will operate, etc.

Meanwhile, he said, the formulation “return of the territories to Azerbaijani control” is unacceptable.

“All six principles are unacceptable for both Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. They do not meet the national interests of Armenia. In this sense, any document based on these principles cannot be acceptable for the Armenian side,” the ex-foreign minister asserted.

Arzumanian also called “dangerous” the wording in the Madrid principles that “an interim status providing guarantees for security and self-governance” will be given to Nagorno-Karabakh.

According to Arzumanian, self-governance implies the lowest form of self-determination.

“Armenia embraced self-governance in 1995 by adopting a constitution that gives self-governance to all provinces and communities,” Arzumanian underscored. “It is completely unacceptable if Nagorno-Karabakh gets an interim status of self-governance within the unitary Azerbaijani state.”

Arzumanian also voiced concerns regarding the phrase “future determination of the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh through a legally binding expression of will.”

He called it a loose concept that could be interpreted at will.

“If a term weaker than [the internationally accepted term] referendum is used, it means there is no agreement on a referendum yet,” said Arzumanian.

Arzumanian said discussions on a common decision about the sequence and timetable of steps regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh issue are ongoing within the HAK. Yet, he insisted that the main opposition alliance does possess a plan of action.

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