By Emil Danielyan
The government of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic joined Armenia on Tuesday in dismissing the latest international criticism of its plans to hold presidential elections. The NKR foreign ministry chided the European Union and the Council of Europe for their refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the August 11 polls.
In a statement issued in Stepanakert, the ministry said that criticism voiced by the two influential organizations amounts to "countering the deepening of democratic processes" in Karabakh and supporting the "dictatorial regime" in Azerbaijan.
"One might get the impression that those organizations, contrary to their declared principles, provide political support to a regime which expresses its readiness to use force against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh," the statement says. It reiterates the Karabakh and Armenian authorities' argument that only elected representatives of the republic can have a mandate to negotiate with Azerbaijan and international mediators.
A declaration, adopted by representatives of EU member states in Brussels on Friday, said the EU supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and does not recognize Karabakh's de-facto independence. According to the Azerbaijani media, a similar view was expressed by the secretary general of the Council of Europe, Walter Schwimmer, in his letter to Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Vilayat Guliev.
Armenia was quick to react to the EU criticism in an unusually irritated manner. The foreign ministry in Yerevan said the statement was "inappropriate" and "unnecessarily complicated" international mediators' efforts to end the Karabakh conflict.