STEPANAKERT (Hetq)—The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic must work to derail the current Madrid Principles guiding the Karabakh peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in Artsakh said Saturday.
The remarks by ARF Artsakh Central Committee Representative Davit Ishkhanian were delivered during the ARF Artsakh Organization’s 16th regional convention in Stepanakert.
The Madrid Principles, forwarded by the OSCE Minsk Group to the negotiating parties in 2007, call for a withdrawal of the liberated territories of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Azeri population transfers to Karabakh proper and a future referendum on the status of Karabakh. The document, which has never been made public, was recently updated by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
No version of the Principles has ever been officially given to Stepanakert. Although Karabakh is the primary party to the conflict, the Minsk Group does not give it a seat at the negotiating table.
“Artsakh must undertake a campaign directed against the Madrid Principles and all aligned forces of Armenia and the Diaspora must be incorporated into such a strategy given that the issue at hand is a pan-national matter,” Ishkhanian stressed, noting the dangers to Armenia’s and Karabakh’s national security posed by the document.
The documents and the current direction of the negotiations, he added, allow for a direct linkage of the Karabakh conflict with Armenia’s rapprochement with Turkey.
“It is therefore incumbent for Artsakh to directly tear down the Madrid Principles and, by doing so, indirectly hinder the current direction of Armenian-Turkish negotiations,” Ishkhanian said, concerned over the Sarkisian regime’s negligence toward the “right of the people of Artsakh to express their free will on the issue.”
Speaking to delegates from ARF chapters throughout Nagorno-Karabakh, Ishkhanian also discussed the party’s efforts in developing a more defined set of principles for Karabakh to submit to the Minsk Group mediated negotiations.
He said that the party in Karabakh had, through its work, “severely weakened the position of those who called for a pragmatic approach to a settlement that would include territorial concessions.”
“The territorial integrity of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is firmly entrenched in our society, despite attempts by those who believe otherwise,” Ishkhanian said. “We are certain that all political forces in the country are in accord with the view that Karabakh must be a full party to the talks, that the territorial integrity of the country is a given and that the Madrid Principles must be replaced.”
The convention’s opening ceremony where Ishkhanian spoke was open to the public and attended by members of Karabakh’s parliament, representatives from non-governmental organizations and political parties, as well as a member of the ARF’s Bureau and faction in the Armenian Parliament, Vahan Hovannesian.