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From concessions to reunion

From concessions to reunion

Karabakh issue in election campaign

On the threshold of the parliamentary elections, PanARMENIAN.Net has inquired about the participating parties’ and blocs’ vision for the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaktsutyun (ARFD) believes that Armenia’s state administration needs serious reforms. According to the party, the issue should not be considered separately, as Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) is inseparable part of the Armenian Cause.

“Our position is unchangeable. Artsakh must unite with Armenia, while the republic’s independence is a temporary solution of strategic importance. Armenia should pursue independent foreign policy based on national interest and sustainable development,” the party’s election program says. “We must boost the security of our country, as preparedness for war can prevent war. Statements about unilateral concessions is the foremost threat. Economic, financial, social, cultural and educational cooperation between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh should be consolidated. Major efforts are needed to make Artsakh a full-fledged party to the peace negotiations for the conflict settlement.”

YELK (Way out) bloc assures that Armenia should first of all take action to restore military balance with Azerbaijan. “With Azerbaijan’s persisting threats, any concessions on Artsakh issue must be ruled out. The republic’s right to self-determination must be the key aspect in talks,” the bloc says. Besides, according to its members, Armenia’s joining the Eurasian Economic Union doesn’t contribute to the problem resolution.

The objective of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) is to ensure that the people of Artsakh determine their final status. “This is the principle we will never renounce. We will support all efforts aimed at a peaceful settlement of the conflict under the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group. At the same time, we will continue to improve our defense sector to deprive the opposite side [Azerbaijan] of any possibility to think about military solution,” their program says.

The party members assure that they will continue working towards inclusion of Artsakh in the peace talks. They also outline the republic’s social and economic development as a priority. “Armenia will continue rendering comprehensive support for the political and economic development of Artsakh,” the paper says.

The members of Oskanian-Raffi-Ohanyan (ORO) bloc believe that both Armenians and Azerbaijanis want peace. “Wars are waged by shady politicians to the detriment of their nations,” they say. Nevertheless, according to the bloc, Armenians and Azerbaijanis will remain neighbor nations and the balance of forces should be maintained, “as its violation is fraught with unpredictable consequences.” At the same time, it’s necessary to encourage public diplomacy between the people, because “there is no sense talking about the settlement of the conflict without mutual trust.”

ORO rules out any unilateral concessions. “The key to the solution lies in Yerevan, Stepanakert and Baku, however, the people of Artsakh will have the decisive word. No agreement is possible without their consent. We are convinced that the problem can be resolved through Artsakh’s self-determination and revision of borders between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Only being a modern and developing country with thriving economy, Armenia will be able to oblige the opposite side to a worthy solution of the conflict and achieve lasting peace,” the bloc’s program says.

The security of Armenia and Artsakh is an issue of concern for Armenians worldwide, the bloc members believe. That’s why, they say, Armenia’s foreign policy should be based on the principles of independence, sovereignty, balance and realism.

The Armenian National Congress – People's Party of Armenia bloc (ANC-PPA) says that efforts must be exerted to realize the settlement plan introduced by the OSCE Minsk Group and the Armenian authorities in 2007, according to which, the Nagorno Karabakh Republic should become a full-fledged party to negotiations. The bloc members say that security of Armenia and Artsakh can be ensured by “ending the blockade and war with the neighbor states and live in peace, which will lead to free trade and economic cooperation.”

“Reconciliation will guarantee security of Armenia and Artsakh, which will be granted the right to self-determination. It will put an end to human losses both among the soldiers and civilians in the conflict zone, stop the armament race and help reduce the military expenses by 4%-5% of the GDP. Establishment of peace will let Armenia participate in major economic projects that will contribute to attraction of investments, economic growth, creation of jobs and pay boost. All this will not only stop migration but will allow for the return of the citizens who left the country. Implementation of the peace plan is an essential condition for creation of stable political and economic system and moral restoration of Armenia,” the ANC-DPA program says.

Free Democrats bloc names international recognition, integration and security of Artsakh as one of priorities of Armenia’s foreign policy. Their program also envisages modernization of the army along with achievement of international recognition of Artsakh. “[Azerbaijan’s] Threats and denouncement of national rights and sovereignty can never be the price for peace,” the program says. “Establishment of peace is a multidimensional and long process that requires democratization and regulation of political systems. Armistice should be achieved and maintained through political efforts. Only after all peaceful means are exhausted and the rival attacks, use of force will become necessary.”

The bloc members say that “Azerbaijan’s ongoing armament and refusal from all proposals for the conflict settlement, anti-Armenian propaganda on the state level, the continuous violations of the ceasefire and the attempted war in April 2016 testify about Armenia’s restraint.”

Free Democrats offer to take action to put an end to Azerbaijan’s armament race and call on the OSCE member states to refrain from selling weapons to this country. “The same refers to Armenia’s partners in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO),” the bloc says.

The four-day April war unleashed by Azerbaijan must be investigated at the international level. Azerbaijan must be held accountable for the ongoing violations of ceasefire and humanitarian law. The Republic of Artsakh should be free, democratic and integrated,” the bloc’s election program says.

The bloc emphasizes that the Karabakh conflict resolution must be negotiated within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group exclusively, with observance of the UN Charter and the fundamental principles of the Helsinki Final Act, as well as the ceasefire agreement signed in 1994. “The consequences of the conflict can be overcome only through recognition of its reasons,” the paper says.

The election program of Armenian Renaissance mentions Artsakh only in the context of Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora unity.

Tsarukyan bloc says that the final goal of the conflict settlement process is the international recognition of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. “The problem should be resolved through peaceful talks on the basis of consensus and compromise. The fate of NKR cannot be determined without its immediate participation,” the program says.

The Communist Party of Armenia did not provide its program.

Hasmik Vantsyan / PanARMENIAN.Net
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