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Dashnaks Opposed to Karabakh Recognition Bill


Armenia -- Armen Rustamian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

Armenia -- Armen Rustamian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) made clear on Friday that it will not back a fellow opposition party’s bill obliging Armenia to formally recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state.


The Armenian parliament is scheduled to debate the bill drafted by the Zharangutyun party on October 5. Its pro-government majority has already spoken out against the initiative.

Majority leaders, reflecting the Armenian government’s position, say Karabakh’s recognition by Yerevan would be counterproductive as long as the international community is trying to broker a solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute. They also argue that Armenia already has very close political, military and economic links with the disputed territory.

These arguments were echoed by Armen Rustamian, a Dashnaktsutyun leader. Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service, said the Armenian and Karabakh governments should themselves jointly choose “the right moment” for such recognition. “This is a serious national issue, and as long as there is no such agreement … we can not pursue a unilateral line that can not produce any results and can only raise questions,” he said.

In Rustamian’s words, Yerevan and Stepanakert should instead form a “military-political alliance.” That would facilitate international recognition of Karabakh’s secession from Azerbaijan, he claimed.

The Zharangutyun bill was also dismissed by the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), which is not represented in the National Assembly. “Instead of recognizing Karabakh’s independence, Armenia should take steps that would foster the process of [Karabakh’s] international recognition,” said Levon Zurabian, the HAK’s central office coordinator.

But Ruben Hakobian, Zharangutyun’s deputy chairman, said Armenia can not achieve such recognition unless it itself sets a precedent.
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