Armenia Warns Renewed Hostilities Will Prompt NKR Recognition

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YEREVAN (Armenia now) — Armenia has again warned Azerbaijan against unleashing a new war in Nagorno-Karabagh, stressing that renewed military hostilities will prompt Yerevan to consider a formal recognition of the independence.

In an interview with the Russian Moskovskie Novosti newspaper (www.mn.ru) published on Monday, President Serge Sargisian reiterated Yerevan’s position in yet another clear message to an increasingly- belligerent Azerbaijan amid more reports of the loss of life along the line of contact of Azeri and ethnic Armenian armed forces in Karabagh.

Still, the Armenian leader acknowledged what many in Armenia view as a risk of thwarting the current internationally-mediated peace talks. “We don’t do that [don’t recognize Karabagh] because we are holding negotiations, whereas the recognition of Nagorno-Karabagh would mean scuttling these talks. In any way, it is better to be negotiating,” Sargisian stressed.

In assessing the risk of renewed hostilities in Karabagh, Sargisian said such a threat persisted “because Azerbaijan is dragging out the process.”

He warned, “There are, perhaps, some plans regarding the accumulation of power and strength in order to try to launch a new military adventure at a convenient moment. It is a wrong approach, because the events may develop by two scenarios. The first one is a total warfare and further occupation of Nagorno-Karabagh, which is possible only if the people of Nagorno-Karabagh are totally annihilated. And the second one is Azerbaijan’s defeat and subsequent loss of new territories. And then Azerbaijan will again complain about losing five, six or more districts. And what then? Again truce, agreements, ceasefire violations, a new war… All these scenarios have no future.”

Sargisian stressed that “the problem can be resolved only on the principle of compromises. “But there is a red line: the people of Nagorno-Karabagh should themselves decide their destiny,” Sargisian added.

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Tensions around Nagorno-Karabagh have been high during the past year amid faltering negotiations over the region’s status and more frequent violations of the 1994 ceasefire resulting in casualties on both sides.