01 Feb 05

Vahan Hovhannisian, deputy speaker of RA National Assembly, thinks
that there are a number of unpleasant and dangerous statements in the
PACE formula on Karabakh issue. "But the most dangerous thing is that
David Atkinson ascribes the blame on the OSCE Minsk group,"
Hovhannisian said at the National Press Club.

Atkinson stated with concern in the interview to BBC that the
activities of the OSCE Minsk group that lasted for over 10 years
yielded no results. "As the past ten years showed the efforts of the
Minsk group were not enough. And we thought that we can have some
ideas that can be applied in the course of the Minsk process that can
contribute to the settlement of the issue. I have always emphasized
that the suggestions we make on behalf of the CE do not replace those
of the Minsk group and, of course, they never hinder (its
activities). We would only like to enlarge the Minsk process," he

Vahan Hovhannisian, representative of ARF Dashnaktsiutiun, reminds
that since 1998 there hasn't been a suggestion that were not accepted
by Armenia. Thus, according to Hovhannisian, the OSCE suggestions were
rejected by Azerbaijan, so the OSCE is not to be blamed. Azerbaijan
understood that if the structures skilled in the settlement of such
issues deal with the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, they (the Azeris)
lose. That is why Baku tries to transfer the issue to other
organizations that aren't that skilled in the Karabakh issue,besides,
Turkey and a number of other countries support Azerbaijan at the CE.

Hovhannisian is especially concerned with the extract in the interview
to BBC where Atkinson said: "It is obvious that the Azeri authorities
will never agree to meet the demand of Nagorno Karabakh for
independence. That is why the CE can not support the independence of
Nagorno Karabakh."

"You can never know," he said in response to Atkinson's report and
added that by making such a statement the British parliamentarian not
only supports Azerbaijan's position, but also gives them an
opportunity to make it stricter.

Anyway, Hovhannisian points out that there are positive elements for
the Armenian side as well in the PACE resolution on Karabakh issue,
"but only elements." In particular, Hovhannisian welcomes the extract
where they callfor the Azeri authorities to establish relations with
NKR authorities in order a dialogue is unfolded. "We would be glad to
contribute to beginning that dialogue here in Strasbourg," Atkinson
said in the interview to BBC.

Accepting the fact that the PACE resolution is unfavorable for the
Armenians in general, Hovhannisian doesn't think that the Armenian
parliamentary delegation at PACE lost.

Hovhannisian thinks that Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh should not be
against the activities of the OSCE monitoring mission in the regions
under the control of Karabakh forces. He reminded that the Armenians
that fled from Baku, Sumgait, Dashkesan and other regions of
Azerbaijan settled down there. "What could these people do? If it is a
crime (settling down in those regions), it means nothing changed in
the world since the XX century," he said.

He said that Nagorno Karabakh's absence at the negotiation process is
a conditional one, more precisely, "the Karabakh side was left out of
only one stage of the negotiations," when in Paris and Key West they
were discussing the issue of Karabakh unification with Armenia, and
senior Aliyev broke the promise he gave preliminarily. Naturally, the
Karabakh side should be actively involved in the negotiation process
in the current stage, Hovhannisian said.

By Tatoul Hakobian