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Opposition Bloc Condemns Sarkisian For NATO Summit Boycott


Armenia -- Supporters of the opposition Armenian National Congress march through central Yerevan, 9Nov2010.

Armenia -- Supporters of the opposition Armenian National Congress march through central Yerevan, 9Nov2010.

The opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) on Wednesday condemned as “irresponsible” President Serzh Sarkisian’s decision to boycott the NATO summit in Lisbon in protest against the alliance’s support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.


“Instead of using the platform of one of the world’s most authoritative and influential organizations to voice Armenia’s and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s positions and, if possible, change the unfavorable formulations, Serzh Sarkisian adopted a hesitant and irresponsible stance which does not befit a sovereign state,” the HAK said in a statement.

“With such an unprincipled stance, Serzh Sarkisian deprived Armenia of an opportunity to counter Azerbaijan’s one-sided and distorted portrayal of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at the NATO summit,” charged the opposition alliance led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian.

Announcing the boycott on Friday, Sarkisian argued through a spokesman that the United States and NATO member states advocate a Karabakh settlement based not only on territorial integrity but also two other internationally recognized principles: peoples’ right to self-determination and non-use of force. He said NATO’s endorsement of only the first principle would deal a blow to the Karabakh peace process.

The warning did not keep the leaders of NATO’s 28 member states from effectively upholding Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh in a declaration approved at the summit.

The HAK statement noted that declarations adopted at the previous NATO summits contained also contained such language. “The Armenian Foreign Ministry had never reacted to those documents, effectively agreeing with that unfair formulation with its silent stance,” it said.

Turkmenistan -- President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov (L) greets his visiting Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sarkisian, at Ashgabat airport, 24Nov2010.
The HAK has repeatedly and harshly criticized the Sarkisian administration’s broader Karabakh policy. “If things continue like this, they will definitely give [Karabakh] away,” Ter-Petrosian claimed earlier this month.

The ex-president himself faced opposition allegations of a Karabakh “sellout” during his 1991-1998 rule. He resigned in February 1998 after advocating a compromise peace deal with Azerbaijan strongly opposed by his key ministers, including then Interior and National Security Minister Serzh Sarkisian.

Sarkisian, meanwhile, insisted on Wednesday that the “international community” continues to stand by all three principles that are at the heart of a framework peace accord proposed by the U.S., Russian and French mediators. “Only this approach can create a possibility of reaching a just and lasting solution,” he said during an official visit to Turkmenistan.

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