Monday, June 20, 2005

Karabagh: Elections & Negotiations

RFE/RL also covers the outcome of the parliamentary elections held yesterday in the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabagh. In those elections, two pro-presidential parties won 22 out of 33 seats. The opposition alliance consisting of the ARF-D and the Movement-88 bloc won only three seats. The ARF-D, itself part of the ruling coalition government in Armenia, have screamed foul. However, despite that, the ARF-D have said that they will not follow down the "path of upheavals."

In part, this might also be because the consensus of opinion from international observers -- including those from opposition parties in Armenia -- have given the elections a clean bill of health, especially when compared to the elections here in 2003. Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that Karabagh is still under martial law and also, the stakes as an unrecognized and partly beseiged territory are very high.

Talking of which, RFE/RL also reports that the Armenian Foreign Minsiter, Vartan Oskanian, says that significant progress is being made in a new round of peace negotiations amined at settling the frozen conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the fate of ethnic Armenians living in Karabagh. Oskanian met with his Azeri counterpart in Paris on Friday. It is believed that a new peace deal will be a combination of a phased and package deal.

Key for the Armenian government, however, is the status of Karabagh and international security guarantees.

Both RFE/RL stories can be read online here.

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