Karabakh president Arkady Gukasian stated yesterday that his republic "is prepared to renounce part of its de facto independence" and to delegate some prerogatives to Azerbaijan, under a treaty to be signed by Baku and Stepanakert, "and possibly also Armenia." However, the arrangement would have to recognize Karabakh as a subject of international law and Armenia as legally responsible for Karabakh’s security, he said. "Realistically, we understand that we can’t hope to create a fully-fledged state," Gukasian said. Acknowledging "the U.S. geopolitical success in tearing Azerbaijan away from Russian influence," Gukasian expressed apprehension that the oil factor might motivate Washington to "hand Karabakh over to Azerbaijan." He said he hoped to forestall such an outcome by cultivating close relations with Russia. (Ekho Moskvy cited by Russian agencies, October 13)
Karabakh’s independence from Azerbaijan was always understood as a transitory stage toward unification with Armenia. Renunciation of independence and acceptance of a legal link with Baku signifies foregoing unification with Armenia, at least for the foreseeable future. This implication is more weighty than the controversy over procedure — "step-by-step" versus a "package deal" — which has been at the center of attention recently. Yesterday’s statement represents Gukasian’s third signal since taking office a month ago that he is prepared for a possible compromise with Baku. But Gukasian’s statement also shows that anxiety that a perceived U.S. partiality for Azerbaijan increases Russia’s leverage over Karabakh and, by implication, over Armenia.
Kentau Workers Stage Hunger March.