Armenian government sends bill on recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh to parliament

Tue 10 May 2016

Armenian government sends bill on recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh to parliament

Today on May 10th a parliamentary session will be held in Armenia on the bill to recognize the Azerbaijan’s breakaway region Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state. The Armenian government approved on May 5th the bill drafted by opposition lawmakers to recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. However, they made clear that the National Assembly  - dominated by the ruling party - only could approve the bill if Azerbaijan unleashes a new aggression.  Both Armenia and Azerbaijan are continuously accusing each other of breaching the ceasefire.

Warning

Armenia passed the draft bill to the parliament on May 5th, and can now be debated. Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian said: “Our position is clear: if Azerbaijan tries to wriggle out of the ceasefire regime and launches a new aggression, the [recognition] issue will definitely be on the agenda.” The government has previously blocked proposals about the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, but approving it this time is mainly seen as a warning to Azerbaijan. In the beginning of April the situation almost escalated and there still is a risk of further escalation.

Worst violence since ceasefire 1994

On April 2nd Nagorno-Karabakh saw its worst fighting since the truce signed in 1994. It looked like a full-scale war with tanks and drones marking a significant difference from the previous gunfire incidents, which occurred over the years. After four days of heavy fighting a Russian-brokered cease-fire went into effect. In late April this has been increasingly violated again.

Opposition initiative

Opposition lawmakers Hrant Bagratyan (Armenian National Congress) and Zaruhi Postanjyan (Heritage party) introduced the proposal to the government.  For years some opposition parties have pressed for an official recognition of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR). The government avoided approving it, not wanting to undermine peace talks with Azerbaijan mediated by US, Russia and France. Nagorno-Karabakh's independence has never been recognized by any country.

Sources: Armenialiberty, RFE/RL, Armenianow, Trendaz
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