By Karine Kalantarian
A leading member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) blamed on Friday Armenia’s government, in which the party is represented, for the “dangerous” resolution on Nagorno-Karabakh adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe earlier this week.
Vahan Hovannisian, who is also the deputy speaker of parliament, said the authorities in Yerevan failed to heed Dashnaktsutyun warnings about Azerbaijan’s efforts to expand the circle of international organizations dealing with the conflict.
“We had long been warning that [discussing Karabakh] in that forum holds little promise for us,” he told reporters. “However, no attention was paid to that. There was a confidence that everything will be done within the framework of the [OSCE’s] Minsk Group.”
Hovannisian added that parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian has agreed to a Dashnaktsutyun proposal to set up an ad hoc commission that will coordinate the work of Armenian delegations at various inter-parliamentary organizations. The proposal was made after the PACE debate on Karabakh last Tuesday, he said.
The PACE resolution accuses Armenia of occupying parts of Azerbaijan, a charge welcomed by official Baku. But both the Armenian Foreign Ministry and the head of the Armenian parliamentary delegation in the Strasbourg assembly, Tigran Torosian, have played down the document, saying that is not legally binding and also contains language favorable for the Armenian side.
A member of that delegation affiliated with Dashnaktsutyun, Armen Rustamian, has been far less sanguine on the resolution’s possible consequences, however. “The most dangerous thing about the resolution is that it seems to devaluate the work done by the Minsk Group,” said Hovannisian.
Peace proposals put forward by the French, Russian and U.S. co-chairs of the group since 1998 have been largely accepted by the Armenian side.
Also criticizing the PACE was Arkady Ghukasian, the president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. But speaking to reporters in Yerevan on Friday, Ghukasian said the resolution will not be “fateful” for the Karabakh peace process despite containing “a number of unacceptable points.” He also called for “more active” Armenian foreign policy.