David Petrosyan: "Recognition of independence of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia is untimely"

David Petrosyan: "Recognition of independence of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia is untimely"

The parliamentary vote on recognition of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, which took place on the 9th of December, failed due to the lack of a quorum. The supporters of the bill, initiated by the “Heritage” faction, comprised only 13 deputies. The reasons for the failure of the bill and the situation around the settlement of the conflict is explained by a political analyst of the news agency ‘Noyan Tapan’, David Petrosyan.

- The bill has caused divergence of public opinion and among the Armenian political elite: from the charges against all the three presidents of hesitating to recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh to the allegations of its untimeliness. Which point of view do you share? Why did the vote fail?

- From a legal point of view it is not entirely clear why the parliament should recognize its independence. Why is the parliament suddenly taking over these functions? Under the Constitution of Armenia, the prerogative to recognize the independence of any state belongs to the president.

I consider the recognition of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia an untimely step. On the eve of the proclamation of Kosovo's independence, the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh could be quite reasonable and would find understanding in the world. Or even in 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But it should be noted that the process of recognizing the independence of Armenia itself was completed only in early March 1992, on our country's accession to the UN. On the other hand, Armenia has undertaken a number of international commitments, especially in the framework of the OSCE, and by continuing the negotiations Armenia adheres to the obligations it undertook 18 years ago.

- Will the recognition of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia influence its international recognition?

- Today, the political situation around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is static. If there were some kind of dynamic, some processes, the situation could change. In particular, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan has recently stated several times that if Azerbaijan opens hostilities against Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia may recognize Nagorno-Karabakh's independence. I believe that the outbreak of hostilities on the part of Azerbaijan against a breakaway republic could become an occasion to recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia. Moreover, in this case, Armenia may be supported by the international community.

- What are the common interests of the main external players, Brussels, Washington and Moscow?

- The interests of the players are that the conflict should be resolved exclusively by peaceful means, the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh should be guaranteed safety, international status and a land connection with Armenia and that Nagorno-Karabakh's final status should be determined by referendum, the order and timing of which should be determined by further negotiations in the framework of the conflict settlement.

- Has the statement in Astana changed the deadlock in the Karabakh issue?

- No. The negotiations on the peaceful settlement of the situation remain deadlocked. The conflicting parties, as before, remain at opposite positions. Disputes also remain between the outside players. Underlying the entire process for a peaceful settlement is the principle of "yes, if". The Armenian side agrees to withdraw the armed forces from certain areas of the security zone around Nagorno-Karabakh if Azerbaijan agrees to hold a referendum on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, meaning on the de-facto independence of Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan.

Interview by Susanna Petrosyan, Yerevan, exclusively for ‘Vestnik Kavkaza’