NKR Recognition Move: Armenian Government endorses opposition-drafted bill

The Armenian Government on Thursday gave its endorsement to a bill co-authored by two opposition members of parliament under which Armenia would formally recognize the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR).

The move comes after the latest escalation of violence in the conflict zone following Azerbaijan’s offensive in early April that resulted in scores killed and wounded on both sides.

Even before the consideration of this draft legislation it was dismissed by Azerbaijan as “another Armenian provocation”.

In its conclusion to the bill that was jointly presented by MPs Zaruhi Postanjyan and Hrant Bagratyan the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says: “The recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is conditioned by the results of the discussions between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, considering further developments, including external factors.”

The authors of the bill said that earlier, the Republic of Armenia did not recognize the NKR because another status could be given to Nagorno-Karabakh, with its consent, within the framework of negotiations conducted under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group.
The bill is now due to be debated and voted in the Armenian parliament.

In the past, several attempts by Armenian opposition parties to pass such legislations were effectively blocked by the parliamentary majority represented by President Serzh Sargsyan’s Republican Party of Armenia.

Azerbaijan, meanwhile, has warned that if Armenia does pass the bill this time around, it will mean the end of the negotiating process within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group.

In an interview with RIA Novosti on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov downplayed the move in Yerevan, saying that Armenia has given assurances that “the status of the [Nagorno-Karabakh] region will not be determined unilaterally.”