Political Response: Armenian lawmakers consider possibility of recognizing Karabakh

President Serzh Sargsyan’s instruction to the Foreign Ministry to work toward signing a military cooperation agreement with Karabakh can serve as a basis for recognition of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, according to Armenian parliamentarians.

“The Republic of Armenia, as a party to the 1994 Ceasefire Agreement, will continue to fully implement its obligations to ensure the security of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. Moreover, I have instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work with Nagorno-Karabakh to elaborate an agreement on mutual military assistance. And here I would like to state what I have declared on many occasions - should military actions continue and escalate into larger scales, the Republic of Armenia will recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh,” said Sargsyan.

According to political analysts, military assistance agreement is the first step in the recognition of Artsakh. The bill on NKR recognition proposed by the Heritage party has repeatedly been rejected by the National Assembly on the grounds that it will fail the negotiation process. However, many politicians believe that Armenia today must recognize the independence of Karabakh as Azerbaijan has come out of the negotiation process.

“The world already acknowledges that hostilities have been renewed by Azerbaijan. By doing that the latter has rejected the 1994 agreements, and actually brought itself out of the negotiation process. Until now we were told that the recognition would mean a rejection of the negotiation process. But the negotiation process no longer exists, because Azerbaijan is not in that process:

Azerbaijan has found itself at war,” said former Prime Minister Hrant Bagratyan, who is an MP representing the opposition Armenian National Congress faction.

Eduard Sharmazanov, the National Assembly’s Deputy Speaker and spokesperson for the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), said that the text of the treaty after being drafted by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, will be sent to the National Assembly of Armenia. According to him, the treaty after being signed may serve as grounds for recognition of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia.

“This agreement will also serve as a basis for international recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Our goal is international recognition of Artsakh, and sooner or later we will achieve it. Our goal has never been a unilateral recognition, our goal is that the people of the NKR have access to the international law according to international norms,” said Sharmazanov.

To address this question in an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty NKR Foreign Minister Karen Mirzoyan said: “In this situation it would be right to recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh by the international community, because experience shows that it is the only effective way to curb Azerbaijan’s ambitions.”

Political analyst Alexander Iskandaryan believes that now it is not the time for fighting with documents: recognition of the NKR’s independence is a document.

“I do not think that recognition will help to repel Azerbaijan, or will change the course of hostilities: Azerbaijan will not stop the war, on the contrary, large-scale hostilities will begin. It is clear that Armenia is the guarantor of the NKR’s security. It supports Nagorno-Karabakh irrespective of the fact of recognition. That could be a political act, but now the situation is different, it is not time for that,” said Iskandaryan.