Friday, 07 August 2020

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The origins of the formation of the status quo of Artsakh and possibilities for change

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What is the status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh, and what does its change mean?

In recent years, especially after the April 2016 war in Nagorno-Karabakh, in the international diplomacy and internal political life of Armenia, the problem of Artsakh (the Nagorno Karabakh Republic) is increasingly reduced to the thesis "about the inadmissibility of the status quo and the need to change it," and, to the statement that "the conflict does not have a military solution." Formally, the concept of the proposed change is presented in the form of proposals by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. The condition for the implementation of this concept is the requirement to preserve the conditions of tripartite (Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan) treaties on the ceasefire regime concluded in 1994-95.

The negotiators (Republic of Armenia, Republic of Azerbaijan) accepted this proposal of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group as a basis for negotiations. At the same time, Azerbaijan reserves the right to a military solution to the problem, and recognizes the political and legal basis for resolving the conflict as four resolutions of the UN Security Council of 1993. Nevertheless, Azerbaijan does not refuse to take part in negotiations, while simultaneously pursuing a policy of asserting the right to the entire territory of Artsakh. Artsakh itself constitutionally secured the right to this territory for its own state. The positions of Azerbaijan and Artsakh are called into question by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries, as well as Armenia, which de jure recognizes the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and does not recognize the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. At the same time Armenia declared its right to be the guarantor of the security of Artsakh, as well as the intention to recognize the latter's independence in the event of Azerbaijan's starting a full-scale war against it.

In fact, the problem of disagreement over Artsakh-controlled territory boils down to disagreements over the rights to this territory. This is the essence of the concept of the status quo: the territory is under the control of Artsakh and the patronage of Armenia, and internationally recognized rights to this territory formally remain for Azerbaijan. In fact, these rights of Azerbaijan are questioned -- since 2007 the people of Artsakh have been recognized as having the right to self-determination under certain conditions. Accordingly, the essence of the proposal of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs is to achieve the agreement of the conflicting parties on the proposed scheme of distribution of rights.

For 23 years, such an agreement was not reached. The military situation on the contact line of the troops showed a tendency to deteriorate, and the topic of the need for changing the status quo was actualized both in the diplomacy of the settlement and within the conflicting countries. However, the contradictions regarding the nature of the necessary changes were also actualized. The topic of international diplomacy was proposals to strengthen the ceasefire regime. In real terms, these proposals were reduced to the requirement to introduce monitoring mechanisms on the contact line and expand the mandate of the Personal Assistant to the OSCE Chairman-in-Office. Azerbaijan considered such demands unacceptable for themselves, because they saw additional mechanisms for strengthening the status quo. Such contradictions led to stagnation in the negotiation process.

The current state of affairs brings to the fore the comprehension of the basic characteristics of the conflict situation, in particular, the essence of the status quo that emerged. It seems that the persistence of approaches to assessing the political essence of the status quo for more than two decades is itself becoming a factor of destruction under the new international conditions. The mere fact that in the international diplomacy of settlement the facts of violation of the ceasefire regime never receive an ad hoc assessment can be an example of the destructiveness of the practiced methods. There must be good reasons for this approach - there is considerable uncertainty in regard to the right to use force. Accordingly, it is mainly necessary to clarify how the situation has developed in which the territory was under the control of some, and the rights to it - in the hands of others?

To do this, we will conduct an excursus in the brief period of the history of the dismantling of the USSR and the formation of the Union of Independent States (CIS). No doubt, it can be argued that the origins of the scheme of the current status quo in Artsakh are in the decisions and actions of this period. The final collapse of the Union began after the failure of the August 1991 putsch. Immediately after the failure, on August 29 the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijan SSR proclaimed "Restoration of the state independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan of 1918-1920". In fact, Azerbaijan by this step strengthened the provisions of the Moscow and Kars agreements of 1921 between Russia and Turkey, where, by agreement of the parties, the borders of the newly created states were delineated. Nagorno-Karabakh (then NKAR) in response to this unilateral decision of Azerbaijan, at the joint session of deputies of all levels of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region and Shahumyan district on September 2 proclaims the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) - as a territory, until the final decision of its status, remaining in the USSR. The basis for such a decision was the USSR Law "On the procedure for resolving issues related to the withdrawal of the Union republic from the USSR."

Officially, the USSR ceased to exist as a state on December 31, 1991, when the flag of the USSR was brought down from the Supreme Council building in the Kremlin. But before that, on December 8, 1991 in Viskuli the Agreement on the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States between the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus was signed. The fifth paragraph of this Agreement states: "The High Contracting Parties recognize and respect the territorial integrity of each other and the inviolability of existing borders within the framework of the commonwealth. They guarantee the openness of borders, the freedom of movement of citizens and the transfer of information within the Commonwealth".[i] On December 10, the decision to establish the CIS was ratified by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Supreme Council of Belarus, and on December 12 by the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation. The Treaty of 1922 establishing the USSR was declared dissolved. On December 13, after two-day talks in Ashgabat, the heads of state of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan announced their desire to join the newly created Commonwealth, similar intentions were expressed by Azerbaijan and Armenia.[ii]

It should be noted that in the described period the Republic of Armenia (RA) already possessed the Joint decision of the Supreme Council of Armenian SSR and the National Council of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region on reunification of December 1, 1989[iii]; Declaration of the Supreme Council of 1990[iv]; the referendum on the independence of the Republic of Armenia of September 21, 1991; decision of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Armenia on proclamation of independence. At the same time, between the Declaration of Independence and the 1991 referendum act, there was already a sharp conflict over the territory of the independent Republic of Armenia. That is, by the act of referendum, the Republic of Armenia actually abandoned the provisions of the Declaration of Independence (joint decision of the Supreme Council of the Armenian SSR and the National Council of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region on reunification of December 1, 1989). The RA also did not recognize the results of the referendum on the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which took place on December 10, 1991 in the territory of the NKR. Accordingly, all its first international treaties the Republic of Armenia signed in full accordance with its contradictory political and legal basis. 

On the part of the CIS, on December 21, 1991, the Alma-Ata Declaration was signed. In it, in particular, it was said: "... striving to build democratic legal states, the relations between which will develop on the basis of mutual recognition and respect for state sovereignty and sovereign equality, the inalienable right to self-determination, the principles of equality and non-interference in internal affairs, the renunciation of the use of force and the threat of force, economic and any other methods of pressure, peaceful settlement of disputes, respect for human rights and freedoms, including the rights of national minorities, conscientious fulfillment of obligations and other generally recognized principles and norms of international law; recognizing and respecting the territorial integrity of each other and the inviolability of existing borders; ... being committed to the goals and principles of the Agreement on the Establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States, declare as follows: ... "[v] On the part of Armenia, this document was signed by President Levon Ter-Petrosyan. From Azerbaijan - President Ayaz Mutalibov[vi].

Many experts do not pay much attention to the most important document annexed to this Agreement. This is the Protocol to the Agreement on the Establishment of the CIS, which in legal terms is an integral part of this document.[vii] The protocol to the agreement was signed in various terms by all[viii]. In this Protocol there is a provision stating that "the Agreement on the Establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States shall enter into force for each of the High Contracting Parties from the moment of its ratification". And further under the text: "On the basis of the Agreement on the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States and taking into account the reservations made at its ratification, documents regulating cooperation within the framework of the Commonwealth will be developed." Thus, this document regulates the official accession to the CIS after its ratification by the parliaments of all countries entering it, and makes it possible, with its ratification, to have a number of reservations, under which it joins the CIS. There were no such reservations from Armenia. It’s still disputed whether by signing this document without any reservations and remarks, the Republic of Armenia, by the same token, recognized the territorial integrity and existing borders of Azerbaijan, and also completely ignored the existence of the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh within the CIS. In any event that’s why the Karabagh issue was later internationalized by Armenia (via CSCE/OSCE). 

The archive of the Armenian parliament holds a document on the ratification of this Agreement under the number Ն-0495-1 signed by the then chairman of the National Assembly Babken Ararktsyan. In this document, there is an important paragraph 2 that commits the commissions of the Supreme Council of Armenia: on external relations, on the assertion of independent statehood and on Artsakh issues, to develop and submit to the Supreme Council for approval their proposals on reservations to the Agreement on the Establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States[ix]. However, contrary to the logic of paragraph 2, paragraph 3 of this document indicates that ratification takes effect from the date of publication. It is not known whether the reservations from the above-mentioned commissions were subsequently submitted for approval by the Supreme Council, and if so, were they being discussed? One thing is clear: the document on ratification was submitted to Moscow without reservations. By the way, this document, like the request of the NKR parliament to enter the CIS in August 1993, was not found in official sources. Could Armenia provide its views on Azerbaijan's accession to the CIS? It could. Armenia could also demand that the territory of the NKR be viewed in the CIS as a territory with a special status, as there are represented the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (all the time), the Republic of Abkhazia (since 1992), the Republic of South Ossetia (since 1992) and the Chechen Republic (before 2000). However, Armenia recognized Azerbaijan as an independent state within the borders of the Azerbaijan SSR. Armenia ratified CIS Charter on November 9, 1993[x].

The actions that Armenia has taken with regard to entering the CIS were of crucial importance for further international decisions regarding the new countries of the post-Soviet space, defining the vector of relations to the latter from the international community. After the collapse of the USSR and the formation of 15 independent states as a result of this process, the question of the principles of recognition of these states already arose in Europe. In accordance with this, the European Union developed a document "Principles for the recognition of new states in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union[xi]. This joint statement, approved on December 16, 1991 in Brussels, indicates what criteria must be met by the state to be recognized in Europe. In this connection, they defined a number of principles for the official recognition of new states in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, among which were fundamentally important provisions, namely:

"- the Community and its Member States affirm their commitment to the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris, especially to the principle of self-determination;

- the obligation to settle, through agreements, all matters relating to the succession of States and - - regional disputes, including through the arbitration court;

- do not recognize the reality, which is the result of aggression. They will take into account the consequences of recognition for neighboring states. "

In reality, the European community did not have to comply with these principles, since the new countries of the post-Soviet space had already given them their recognition scheme implemented within the CIS framework. If Armenia made a reservation on the compatibility of Azerbaijan with the provisions of the CIS agreement, Azerbaijan, on a legal basis, could have serious problems with international recognition, since at that time it was carrying out ethnic cleansing throughout its territory and waging a war with the self-proclaimed independent NKR with the observance of the norms of the Constitution of the Soviet Union. But such a problem did not arise. In February 1992, Armenia and Azerbaijan joined the CSCE and the United Nations. When Armenia joined the CSCE and the UN, no objections were raised on Azerbaijan's accession to this structure. That is, in the legal plan, Armenia here also recognized the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Armenia could have submitted its objections to the CSCE regarding Azerbaijan's accession to it, since this did not correspond to the above points. It waged war against Armenians in Karabakh, and by this time mass deportation had already been carried out. Nevertheless, having entered into these organizations, Azerbaijan, objectively, received the right to the legitimate use of force in defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. True, it had to commit itself to a peaceful resolution of disputes in all the above organizations.

The legal acts were followed by military actions. Azerbaijan violated its obligations to refuse to use force, however, lost the war. By the end of 1993, the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan was divided into two sectors of military and political control: Azerbaijan and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Segregation of the population on ethnic grounds occurred - the Armenian and Azerbaijani populations passed under the control of their state's troops. The signed ceasefire agreement in 1994 consolidated the military-political situation in the territory of the former Azerbaijan SSR, which is still classified as a status quo. The territory of the NKR is beyond the control of Azerbaijan, but the latter has internationally recognized rights to this territory. This is the basis of conflict relations.

At the moment, the topic of the decisions of the Armenian leadership adopted in 1991 was again updated. Formation of the parameters of the status quo in its current form depended to a great extent on the decisions of those days. Until now, assessing the conflict situation, the international community points out precisely that NKR is not recognized by anyone, including Armenia. In addition, Azerbaijan periodically justifies its actions by having the right to "the lawful use of force". It is clear that all these circumstances were not taken into account by Armenia in 1991. Priority was given to other circumstances, the meaning of which at that time was not entirely clear.

In his study "Nagorno-Karabakh. Problem and Conflict" political scientist Suren Zolyan, who in 1990-1995 was a deputy of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Armenia and was a secretary of the special commission on issues of Artsakh, notes that the accession of these countries into the UN and the CSCE "gave rise to some optimism and hope that international organizations will be able to play the role of an impartial arbitrator in the Karabakh conflict. Probably, these expectations were reinforced by a historical precedent - in 1919 the League of Nations refrained from recognizing all three Transcaucasian republics until they through negotiations negotiated territorial disputes among themselves, and if they were unable to reach a decision on their own, recognized the decision of the League of Nations arbitration commission. In this case, all the parties pinned their hopes on effective intervention by the CSCE and on the issue in accordance with the principles of international law, but presented it in different ways, which stemmed from the multidimensionality of international law itself."[xii] The problems of building Armenia's relations with the newly proclaimed NKR were not so smooth. There Zolyan describes. "The fact of NKR proclamation, the referendum and elections of the NKR Supreme Council and the Declaration on State Independence adopted on January 6, 1991 demanded that Armenia clarify its position. The referendum and presidential elections in October, exclusively in the territory of the Armenian SSR without Nagorno-Karabakh, and a similar referendum and elections of the Supreme Council in the territory of the former NKAR and Shahumyan districts, Armenia and Karabakh virtually annulled the decision of 01.12.1989 on reunification. However, formally it remained in force. In January 1991, sharp political discussions developed about the recognition of the NKR and the cancellation of the decision on reunification, which, however, were of a closed nature. Apart from the marginal parties that held the extreme position, insisting on the legality and validity of the previous decision, the majority was inclined to recognize the NKR and conclude a political-economic union with it, which should compensate for the canceled decision on reunification. Under these conditions, the president and his entourage were forced to accept a compromise formula: Armenia refrains from recognizing the NKR until it is recognized by other countries, but, as stated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, work in this direction will become the main foreign policy task. Simultaneously, the Presidium of the Supreme Council recommended refraining from discussing the issue on the nature of the relations between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh proposed in the agenda of the regular session, provided that if the situation is clarified and Armenia is admitted to the CSCE and the UN, this issue will be considered by the parliament "... "Previously, in 1989 the Supreme Council of Armenia accepted the demand of the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh to annex the region to Armenia. However, at a meeting with the Speaker of the Parliament, Mr. Ararktsyan, on February 18, 1992, the delegation was informed that the decision of 1989 on the accession of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia did not last long and did not receive further legal application. Mr. Ararktsyan also noted that Armenia does not have the authority to determine the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, and it intends to obey international law."

The circumstance that the international community recognized the difficulties from the very beginning in connection with the situation on the territory of the former Azerbaijani SSR from the very beginning can be seen from the fact that on 24 March 1992 an additional meeting of the CSCE Council took place in Helsinki, where the mandate for the resolution of the Karabakh conflict was granted. Paragraph 8 states that "the Ministers expressed their firm conviction that the Conference on Nagorno-Karabakh under the auspices of the CSCE will provide a permanent forum for negotiations with a view to a peaceful resolution of the crisis on the basis of the principles, commitments and provisions of the CSCE. In this regard, the ministers asked the incumbent Chairman of the CSCE Council of Ministers to convene such a conference as soon as possible."[xiii] In paragraph 9, the Foreign Ministers also agreed that the participants of this Conference to be held in Minsk will be Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Germany, Italy, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, France, the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic and Sweden. Elected and other representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh will be invited to the Conference by its Chairman as interested parties after consultations with the participating States. The Chairman-in-Office of the CSCE Council will appoint the Chairman of the Conference on Nagorno-Karabakh under the aegis of the CSCE. These are the facts. The essence of the proposal of the CSCE Minsk Group (OSCE) initially amounted to the distribution of rights in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and the agreement on the proposed formula. At the initial stage of the negotiation process, it was a question of the format of negotiations and the future status of the former NKAR. It was proposed to define this status within the framework of the Minsk Conference. After the signing of the armistice agreement in 1994, the formula for the distribution of rights changed: different territories were given different statuses to different segments of the territory under the control of the NKR. The problem of the future status was preserved only beyond the territory of the former NKAR, and the remaining territories were proposed to be given to Azerbaijan. This is evidenced by the former head of Russian intelligence Vyacheslav Trubniko. "The Armenian side has always insisted and now claims that the liberation of seven regions is an integral part of a comprehensive solution to the Karabakh conflict ... True, in the early 2000s the parties nevertheless came close to resolving the conflict. In April 2000, we met in Key West (USA). Presidents Aliyev and Kocharyan even agreed on the points of the peace agreement."[xiv]

Only in 2007, in the proposed Madrid principles for the people of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, the right to unlimited self-determination was recognized, provided that the specific requirements were fulfilled. Until 2016, negotiations did not lead to a result - moreover, Azerbaijan violated the ceasefire and in April 2016 made a military strike against the NKR. In fact, the concept of settlement adopted by the Armenian leadership was initially reduced to the formula "peace at any cost". There was no talk of achieving international recognition of NKR independence. Such conversations were considered a hindrance to the settlement. In this approach, there was no understanding of the most important circumstance - the right to lawful use of force was recognized for Azerbaijan[xv], but the pressure was exerted on the obligation of this country to solve the problem peacefully. In fact, already in 1992 Azerbaijan decided that it could use its right to use military force[xvi]. As a result, the first Karabakh war passed without complete intervention by the world community and resulted in tens of thousands of victims on both sides. As a result of this war, the current status quo was formed. So far this postulate remains the key in the position of Azerbaijan. This is confirmed by the speech of Foreign Minister Mamedyarov from the rostrum of the 70th jubilee session of the UN General Assembly. According to it, "If in the course of negotiations on the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict the result is not reached, that is, the complete and unconditional withdrawal of the armed forces of Armenia from the occupied lands of Azerbaijan, we will be forced to use our inalienable right to self-defense, which is guaranteed by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations in order to ensure the restoration of sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders."[xvii] At the same time, it is noteworthy that even after the defeat of Azerbaijan, the problem of recognizing the independence of the NKR has not become part of the Armenian policy.

The attitude towards the problem of recognizing the independence of the NKR changed only in 2008, when Kosovo and Abkhazia and Ossetia were unilaterally recognized. At a rally on October 17, 2008 in Yerevan, former President of Armenia L. Ter-Petrosyan called on the Armenian parliament to recognize the independence of the NKR in order not to leave the problem outside the framework of new trends in world processes[xviii]. However, the authorities of the country stated that they recognize the NKR if Azerbaijan starts a full-scale war. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan announced this for the first time from the rostrum of the OSCE summit in Astana in 2011. Over the past few years, a number of US states, New Wales Australia, have recognized the independence of the NKR. In 2017, Armenian Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan stated that the method of solving the NKR problem is its international recognition. Appeal to the issue of NKR recognition undoubtedly indicates that such an approach also began to be considered by the political class of Armenia as a way of changing the status quo. The way which casts doubt on Azerbaijan's exclusive right to the legitimate use of military force to resolve the conflict. The 23-year-old OSCE formula for changing the status quo, if not questioned, causes more and more mistrust. However, the society of Armenia, accustomed to the OSCE approach for two decades, shows a different attitude to the new proposals of the political class of Armenia. The formula "peace at any cost" is still convincing for a certain layer of society, brought up on historical traditions of the early 1920s, when the Armenian people underwent amass annihilation. "Genocide syndrome", as a result of historical fear and false conclusions and beliefs established in the public consciousness, has not yet been overcome. Even the most intelligent figures call for reconciliation with the settlement formulas proposed to the Armenian people and to obey the demands of the international community. In fact, the idea of transferring the problem of resolving the conflict to the international community remains and is still relevant.

In the early 1990s, when the consciousness of politicians was formed under the influence of the logic of the world order of the "cold war" pattern, the thesis that the Armenian people have no allies in the issue of recognizing the independence of the NKR sounded convincing. Equally convincing was the thesis that the historically formed status quo in the Caucasus region can not be changed. The thesis "peace at any cost" was considered as the only way to establish normal relations with the Turkic-speaking neighbors of Armenia. Alternatives to this approach weren’t recognized. Formed in Nagorno-Karabakh, the new status quo was viewed as a threat to the security of the Armenian people. At present, it is said about the inadmissibility of the status quo and the danger of its preservation - that is, a way of overcoming it is being sought. Accordingly, we have the following: the world community claims that this conflict has no military solution, fewer people believe that a settlement can occur on the basis of an agreement of the conflicting parties. The third approach is still not seriously considered: overcoming the status quo by depriving Azerbaijan of the right to use legal force against the NKR. This approach does not have any obstacles on its – it’s the way of international recognition of NKR. After the April war in 2016, this issue was discussed in the international arena. This topic is also discussed in Armenia, but so far, there has been no real policy shift.


Karapet Kalenchyan

[i] Agreement on the Establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States

[ii] History of the CIS

[iii] Supreme Council of the Armenian SSR and National Council of Nagorno-Karabakh. Decision: In the first paragraph it is said that the Supreme Council of Armenia. The SSR recognizes the fact of self-determination, which was approved by the Regional Council of the NKAR on February 20, 1988... In the third paragraph it is said that both Councils "proclaim the reunification of Armenian SSR and Nagorno-Karabakh "and the rights of citizenship of the Armenian SSR extend to the population of Nagorno-Karabakh.”

[iv] Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Armenia,

[v] Declaration of Alma-Ata

[vi] It should be noted that Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence within the borders of 1922 on the basis of the Kars, and then the Moscow agreements between Turkey and the USSR. Subsequently, for its part, Georgia denounced these treaties on the basis of international law. Armenia and Azerbaijan are still guided by these treaties.

[vii] Protocol to the Agreement on the Establishment of the CIS

[viii] Commonwealth of Independent States CIS

[ix] To clarify the recommendations of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Armenia on the Foreign Relations, Independent Statehood Regulatory and National Policy Standing and Standing Committees of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Armenia and to submit recommendations on reservations to the Treaty establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States for the approval of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Armenia.

[x] On the interpretation of the request for the application of the provisions of agreements and other acts of the Commonwealth

[xi] Principles for the recognition of new states in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union

[xii] Suren Zolyan. Nagorno-Karabakh. Problem and conflict

[xiii] Helsinki Supplementary Meeting of the CSCE Council on March 24, 1992.

[xiv] Vyacheslav Trubnikov. Interview on March 18, 2017.

[xv] According to Article 51 of the UN Charter "The present Charter does not in any way affect the inherent right to individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack on the Member of the Organization occurs until the Security Council takes the measures necessary to maintain international peace and security…"

[xvi] According to Article 51 of the UN Charter

[xvii] E. Mamedyarov. Azerbaijan will use the right to restore territorial integrity in case of ineffectiveness of negotiations.

[xviii] Speech of Levon Ter-Petrosyan at the rally on October 17, 2008. "5. Taking into account the alarming fact that after the recognition of Kosovo, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Karabakh issue is somewhat out of the overall process of solving frozen conflicts, it is time to think that the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia is initiating the recognition of Nagorno Karabakh's independence. Serge Sargsyan should not be bound by that initiative, but on the one hand having the parliament's decision, on the other hand, pending its ratification, he will have great opportunities to confront and manipulate external pressure in the upcoming negotiations.”

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