Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian condemned on Friday the pro-government majority in the Armenian parliament for blocking Armenia’s recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence championed by his Zharangutyun (Heritage) party.
Hovannisian compared the National Assembly’s rejection on Thursday of a relevant Zharangutyun bill to a denial of the Armenian genocide.
“The recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s sovereignty and independence by the Republic of Armenia and its National Assembly is as critical, valuable and pivotal in terms of Armenian identity and state interests as international recognition of the Armenian genocide,” he told a news conference.
Echoing the Armenian government’s position, parliament majority leaders say a unilateral recognition of the disputed territory as an independent state would be counterproductive for the Armenian side. They say Armenia already has close political, economic and military links with Karabakh.
Majority leaders have also pointed to President Serzh Sarkisian’s threat to recognize Karabakh if Azerbaijan attempts to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute by force. Sarkisian voiced it in a speech at the OSCE’s December 1-2 summit in Kazakhstan.
The Armenian leader reiterated the warning on Friday while attending a summit of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Moscow. “If Azerbaijan resorts to a new military provocation, Armenia will have no choice but to recognize Karabakh’s independence de jure,” he said. Armenia would also defend the territory “by all means,” he added.
Hovannisian dismissed these statements, saying that Yerevan has all the “legal and political grounds” to do that now. He also said Zharangutyun will continue to fight for Karabakh’s recognition in the Armenian parliament.