Election of New Armenian President Will Not Affect Nagorno-Karabakh Negotiations – PACE

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 22 February 2008 15:27 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 22 February / Trend corr K. Ramazanova / The election of a new president in Armenia will not affect the negotiations to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, a member of the election watchdog delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Bjorn Jacobsen said to Trend in a telephone conversation from Strasburg.

" Armenia should tackle the issue," he said.

The conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus began in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan lost the Nagorno-Karabakh, except of Shusha and Khojali, in December 1991. In 1992-93, Armenian Armed Forces occupied Shusha, Khojali and Nagorno-Karabakh's seven surrounding regions. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France, and the US) are currently holding peaceful, but fruitless negotiations.

Regarding the protest by the Armenian opposition, Jacobsen said those who were dissatisfied with the results of the elections should have taken proper steps before the elections in order to receive more votes. "But it is the choice of the opposition to hold a protest action," he said.

It is the second day that the Ter-Petrossian's supporters are holding demonstrations in Yerevan in which they are urging for the results of the elections to be re-considered. Some 20 tents were set up in the Freedom Square in the centre of Yerevan in which Ter-Petrossian's supporters spent the night.

According to Jacobsen, the elections in Armenia were held in compliance with the country's international obligations. However, further progress is required to solve the remaining problems. "Further improvements and political will is necessary to remove the public's distrust for the elections," Jacobsen said.

On 19 February, Armenia held the presidential elections. According to the Central Election Commission, the Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, the head of the Republican Party, won the elections (52.86% of votes).

The ex-President Levon Ter-Petrossian took second place (21.5%), followed by MP Artur Bagdasarian, the head of the opposition Orinats Erkir party (11.6%). The remaining six candidates collected less than 10% of votes.

The elections were observed by over 400 watchdogs, including 75% MPs representing the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament.