Armenia should press the United States to reaffirm support for Nagorno-Karabakh people’s right to self-determination in the conflict with Azerbaijan, a senior representative of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) said on Friday.
Giro Manoyan, the opposition party’s foreign policy spokesman, said President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian should raise the matter when they meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Yerevan next week.
“I think our authorities should demand clarifications from the secretary of state as to whether the United States believes that a resolution of the Karabakh conflict should also be based on the principle of self-determination or … only on territorial integrity,” Manoyan told a news conference.
He pointed in that context to a controversial reference to the Karabakh conflict in a declaration that was adopted at a NATO summit held in Chicago late last month.
The declaration voiced support for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and other former Soviet republics locked in territorial and ethnic disputes. It made no mention of people’s self-determination with regard to the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute, a fact criticized by Armenia. Official Yerevan said this is the reason why President Serzh Sarkisian did not take part in the NATO summit unlike his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev.
Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, who represented Armenia at the summit, argued in Chicago that the existing international peace proposals on Karabakh, jointly drafted by the United States, France and Russia, are based on both internationally recognized principles. U.S. officials have repeatedly backed this compromise peace formula in their public pronouncements.
“If they haven’t renounced their position that they have repeatedly expressed as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, then the United States should stick to that stance in all bodies and at all times so that it is clear, especially to Azerbaijan, that there is no other variant of settlement,” Manoyan said.
Azerbaijan has welcomed the NATO declaration, saying that it endorsed Baku’s position on the unresolved conflict.
Clinton is due to arrive in Yerevan on Monday at the start of what will be her second tour of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in less than two years. The Armenian Foreign Ministry said this week that the Karabakh problem will be high on the agenda of her talks in the Armenian capital.