ARMENIAN LEADER THREATENS TO RECOGNIZE KARABAKH

Public TV
March 31 2008
Armenia

The outgoing president of Armenia has said his country can recognize
the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagornyy Karabakh as an independent
state or sign a military agreement with it in the face of Azerbaijan's
"bellicose" statements.

Speaking in Nagornyy Karabakh's capital Stepanakert (Azeri name
Xankandi) on 31 March, Robert Kocharyan said that Armenia could change
its position on Karabakh following the "new situation" emerged in
the world - Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia.

"I think that a new situation has emerged," Armenian Public TV showed
Kocharyan as saying. "Some things are changing in the world. There
is the Kosovo precedent... There are two options: We either recognize
[Nagornyy Karabakh's independence] immediately, or replace the final
recognition with the signing of an agreement on the defence sphere
between the republic of Nagornyy Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia."

Kocharyan, who is a native of Nagornyy Karabakh, added that the new
approach was also prompted by Azerbaijan's efforts to take peace talks
out of the mandate of the OSCE Minsk Group, which is co-chaired by
the USA, Russia and France.