Bill in Armenia Seeks Official Recognition of Artsakh Independence

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YEREVAN (A.W.)—Armenia’s government endorsed a bill on May 5 that would recognize the independence of the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR/Artsakh), adding that the bill would be ratified if Azerbaijan launched new large-scale attacks. Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) released a statement on the same day, saying that rumors about the Armenian government endorsing a bill looking to officially recognize the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (Artsakh/NKR) as an independent state are “irrelevant,” and stressing that recognition would only come in case of continued military aggression against NKR.

“On numerous occasions Armenia has clearly declared in which case it will recognize the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic. In case of making such an important decision, as a credible and reliable partner, the President of the Republic of Armenia, would inform beforehand his partners and, first of all, the heads of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries,” read a part of the MFA statement.

The bill was introduced by Heritage Party MP Zaruhi Postanjyan and Armenian National Congress (ANC) MP Hrant Bagratyan.

The bill outlines six points, including NKR’s right to self-determination as well as threats of Azerbaijani aggression to the safety and security of Armenia and NKR. The bill also mentions Heritage party founder Raffi Hovannisian’s campaign to get Armenia to recognize NKR. In 2007, Hovannisian introduced a bill on a formal recognition of Artsakh in Armenia’s National Assembly.

The Armenian MFA said it hoped that Azerbaijan would be “reasonable enough to refrain” repeating the large-scale aggression it unleashed in early April. “Only through the acknowledgment of the lack of alternative to the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabagh issue it is possible to return the process onto the negotiation track and find a just and effective way for the full implementation of the right to self-determination by the people of Nagorno-Karabagh,” read a part of the statement.

When asked whether or not the government of Armenia is planning to approve the draft law during its May 5 session, Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan said, “According to that opinion, the recognition depends on the further development of the situation. If Azerbaijan unleashes new military aggression, the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh will be included in the agenda,” he said in his answer to the press question, as published on the MFA website on May 3.

Last month, Armenia’s President Serge Sarkisian told ambassadors of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) member states summoned for a meeting on April 4, that the Republic of Armenia will recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabagh should Azerbaijani military actions continue to escalate.

“Further escalation of [Azerbaijani] military actions may result in unpredictable and irreversible consequences, including an all-out war. It will obviously affect the security and stability not only of the South Caucasus but also the entire European area,” said Sarkisian on April 4.

Source: Armenian Weekly
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