KARABAKH FACTOR BACK TO GAME: FORMER AND CURRENT AUTHORITIES EXCHANGE REPROACHES AND CRITICISM FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
By Aris Ghazinyan

ArmeniaNow

First president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan sharply criticized the
current authorities starting a recent speech with the Karabakh issue
with implications that the conflict settlement is in a deadlock and
that the situation might change if leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan
continue rejecting mutual concessions.

With reference to the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs' recent statement at
Los Cabos, Ter-Petrosyan said: "The point presidents Obama, Putin and
Hollande made is as follows: 'Mr. Serzh Sargsyan and Mr. Ilham Aliyev,
we've had enough of you trying our patience and mocking at us. Either
come to your senses or we'll talk differently to you.'"

The first presidents' speech was immediately followed by former
foreign minister, Prosperous Armenia MP Vartan Oskanian's comment on
his Facebook page.

"It's obvious today that the Karabakh issue settlement has reached a
deadlock. I don't recall any such period when the deadlock was this
deep," wrote Oskanian.

He named two reasons for the deadlock one of which is obstinacy
of the Armenian authorities, which is approximately the same thing
Ter-Petrosyan said in his speech.

"Azerbaijan's ten amendments unacceptable for the Armenian side
were introduced in Kazan," said Oskanian adding that during her
recent regional visit US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must
have suggested that Azerbaiajn withdraw the greater part (8-9) of
the amendments and that Armenia accept one or two of them.

"I am deeply convinced that Clinton left Armenia empty-handed, as the
Armenian side was unable to add anything new to what was accepted in
Kazan," Oskanian wrote.

Oskanian's words "As the first president of Armenia mentioned in his
speech, the three co-chairs' statement in Los Cabos was stricter than
the previous ones." has received he biggest resonance.

What stands out about this part of Osklanian's comment is that never
since 1998 had he made any reference to the first president.

Moreover, when in 1998 he became foreign minister he sharply criticized
Ter-Petrosyan's position on Karabakh.

In February of 2008, prior to the presidential elections, Oskanian
stated that in 1997 Ter-Petrosyan agreed to the 'phased' option
suggesting transfer of the "safety belt" under the control of Nagorno
Karabakh's Defense Army to Azerbaijan.

He stated back then that Ter-Petrosyan was leading a dirty game
turning national issues into subjects of campaign rhetoric:
"My conviction grows with each day that Ter-Petrosyan will stop
at nothing for fulfilling his political ambition of becoming the
president of Armenia."

However, on his Facebook page Oskanian has now cited the first
president.

Head of the presidential apparatus, Vigen Sargsyan, responded to this
on June 30 on his FB page:

"Mr. Oskanian, I'd like to remind you that you used to view
Ter-Petrosyan's position on Karabakh as defeatist and leading to a
deadlock," he wrote.

Vigen Sargsyan believes that "the pivot of Oskanian's comment is not
Nagorno Karabakh, but rather, "as the first president said in his
latest speech", a turn of formulations. The goal is one - letting
Levon Ter-Petrosyan know that he is ready to cooperate with him."

It's hard to say whether it's true or not.

There are speculations that during the forthcoming presidential
elections Oskanian might become the one and only single candidate of
Armenian National Congress and Prosperous Armenian Party.

Although Karabakh is a foreign political issue, it has never ceased
to be a highly important domestic political issue in Armenia.

Suffice it to say that it was due to the wave of national movement
for Nagorno Karabakh that Ter-Petrosyan came to power, so did the
second and the third presidents.

Hence, today, too, the Karabakh issue is one of the most decisive
factors in the domestic political battles.




From: A. Papazian