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Public Rally Marks the 17th Anniversary of the Republic of Mountainous



YEREVAN, 2 Sept. 2008, ARF Press Office -- The Armenian
Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun rallied several thousand supporters
in Yerevan on today to mark the 17th anniversary of the establishment of the
Republic of Mountainous Karabakh.
The MC was Hrayr Karapetyan, member of the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun
Supreme Body of Armenia and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of
The first speaker was Arthur Aghabekyan, Chairman of the
parliament's Standing Committee on Defense, National Security and Internal
ARF-Dashnaktsutyun Bureau member and Leader of the ARF Parliamentary
Faction Vahan Hovhannesyan spoke next.
He was followed by ARF-Dashnaktsutyun Bureau members Levon Lazarian
and Aghvan Vardanyan.
The concluding remarks were delivered by Armen Rustamyan,
ARF-Dashnaktsutyun Supreme Body of Armenia Representative and Chairman of
the parliament's Standing Committee on Foreign Relations.
With the backdrop of the recent war and subsequent events in the
South Caucasus, the speakers focused on the regional developments, Artsakh's
right to self-determination, Turkish-Armenian relations and Armenia's
internal situation.
At the end, the rally adopted a declaration (see below).
The rally was held at the footsteps of Yerevan's Matenadaran (museum of
ancient Armenian manuscripts), in scorching weather.


On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Artsakh movement and on the
17th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Mountainous
Karabakh, we, the participants of the public rally organized by the
ARF-Dashnaktsutyun and held in Yerevan on 2 September 2008, assert:

- The recent war and developments in the South Caucasus have created a
new situation in our region;
- It is evident that if from now on the international community is not
able to prevent the use of force, then the unforeseen developments could be
calamitous. What happened also demonstrated that how dangerous it is to
apply double standards.
- The OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries by recognizing, together or
alone, the independence of Kosovo, Abkhazia and South Ossetia have
underlined the primacy of the principle of peoples' right to
self-determination in international law;
- The international community's respect of the right of the people of
Artsakh to self-determination and freedom has no alternative. The people of
Artsakh have repeatedly expressed their will to live independent of
Azerbaijan. The people of Artsakh have exercised their right to
self-determination based on the principles of international law and the
Constitution of the Soviet Union. Mountainous Karabakh has never been part
of independent Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani domination over Mountainous Karabakh
ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
- In the Karabakh-Azerbaijan war, Azerbaijan was the aggressor.
Artsakh defended its right to live securely and was successful; Azerbaijan
is responsible for launching the war and for its consequences;
- For seventeen years, the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh exists as
a democratic state, with its relevant state structures and local
self-government bodies;
- Azerbaijani ambitions to re-conquer Artsakh by force are doomed to
failure and will lead the region to more unforeseen upheavals;
- Having de facto recognized the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh and
having signed with it economic and other cooperation agreements, Armenia has
refrained from de jure recognizing the RMK solely because of its stand to
remain true to the spirit of resolving the conflict peacefully through
- Escalation of EU-RF-USA relations to a confrontational level cannot
be beneficial for the region; it is imperative to find ways to resolve all
outstanding problems through dialogue. Armenia can and should contribute to
these efforts.

Furthermore, we assert that:

1) The negotiations to resolve the Artsakh conflict can bear results
and promote peace only when Azerbaijan signs a legal document with the
Republics of Armenia and Mountainous Karabakh not to use force or the threat
of force;
2) The Republic of Armenia should sign a treaty with the Republic of
Mountainous Karabakh undertaking to act as the guarantor of the independence
and security of the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh;
3) The authorities of the Republic of Armenia should anticipate the
official recognition of the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh if Azerbaijan
continues to consider the military route as an acceptable means to resolve
the issue, or if through its actions endangers the negotiation process.

We declare:

a) Armenia and Artsakh shall not relinquish their security guarantees;
b) Regarding the security of Armenia and Artsakh, the Armenian people
is unified and united; no internal political issue should threaten the
existence and security of our statehood;
c) The best guarantee to consolidate the Armenians and to be defended
from external dangers is the irreversibility of internal reforms, the
advancement of democracy and the establishment of justice.

Participants of the Rally of
2 September 2008
Yerevan, Armenia