Armenia yesterday used its right of veto to force the OSCE’s summit in Lisbon to omit a statement on settling the Karabakh conflict from the meeting’s final document. The draft statement, prepared by the member countries of the OSCE’s "Minsk conference" — which serves as a negotiating forum on Karabakh — had been approved or at least accepted by all countries including Azerbaijan. The document called for a settlement based on Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, a legal status for Karabakh giving it the highest degree of self-government within Azerbaijan, and security guarantees for Karabakh’s population. Addressing the summit, Azerbaijani president Haidar Aliev rejected Armenia’s demand for recognition of Karabakh’s secession from Azerbaijan. Aliev predicted that such recognition will only lead to Karabakh’s unification with Armenia.
Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrosian in his statement recalled the none-too-distant anti-Armenian "pogroms" in Azerbaijan and in Karabakh itself when Azerbaijan controlled it. Ter-Petrosian questioned the value of any Azerbaijani security guarantees to Karabakh, ruled out a return of Karabakh to Azerbaijani rule as fraught with the "risk of genocide or deportation," and argued that "the only way to prevent another tragedy is to ensure Karabakh’s self-determination." Last-day tete-a-tete talks between Aliev and Ter-Petrosian failed to break the deadlock. To circumvent Armenia’s veto, the draft statement was issued yesterday as a mere declaration of the OSCE’s executive chairman. Russia in its capacity as permanent co-chairman of the Minsk conference endorsed the pro-Azerbaijani draft. (Western agencies, Interfax, December 3)
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