Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nagorno-Karabakh joins Transdniester, Abkhazia and S.Ossetia in call for peace

Tiraspol Times & Weekly Review, Moldova
By Times staff

Four unrecognized countries have taken a united stand on settling conflicts without the use of violence. Transdniester, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh signed a joint appeal for peaceful settlement on conflicts involving their territories. An earlier appeal to the United Nations did not include Nagorno-Karabakh.

(Tiraspol Times) - The foreign ministries of four unrecognized countries – the Transdniester Republic, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh – signed the a joint declaration on principles for peaceful and just settlement of their territorial conflicts with Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, respectively.

Its text was circulated on Sunday by the Foreign Ministry of Transdniester (officially Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica, or PMR, but also known under names such as Transnistria or Trans-Dnestr).

Key to the document is the appeal that conflicts should be settled only by peaceful political means on the basis of respect for the views of all the sides of a conflict, taking into account the right of peoples to self-determination.

It condemns the use of any forms of pressure at negotiations, be it open violence - such as military action - or covert violence, including dis-information wars, economic blockades and sanctions, diplomatic isolation and other measures which result in unfair pressure on the weaker side of the negotiations.

Message to Moldova: Respect int'l law
In addition to their appeal for non-violence and a democratic status settlement, the four foreign ministers agreed to set up international guarantee systems of a post-conflict settlement. Such international involvement would include outside guarantees of the observance of international law and economic guarantees, as well as guarantees of their peoples' security and observance of human rights by all sides to the conflicts.

The document concludes by expressing the conviction that “respect of these principles by all subjects of the international community, including Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova, will create adequate prerequisites for the earliest and just settlement of conflicts and will be a common contribution to strengthening of international stability and protection of human rights”.

Following the signing of the document, Transdniester Foreign Minister Valeri Litskai said that eventual independence of Kosovo would create a precedent for his own country, taking into account the maturity of Transdniester's statehood and its government institutions.

“ - We are 17 years old, while Kosovo is only seven. Kosovars are a long way from international democratic standards so far,” said PMR's Valeri Litskai.

The other three signatories to the document are also older than Kosovo, being each 15 or 16 years old. Of the four, Pridnestrovie (Transdniester) was the first to declare inpendence: It did so in 1990, one year before the Republic of Moldova became an independent country. Although Transdniester was legally a part of the former Moldavian SSR within the Soviet Union, Transdniester has never legally been a part of the new Republic of Moldova following the fall of the Soviet Union.

Newcomer: Nagorno-Karabakh
The signature of Nagorno-Karabakh on the declaration is a departure from recent policy.

Nagorno-Karabakh differs from other "frozen conflicts" in the ex-Soviet Union in that it has repeatedly received funding from the United States Congress. Throughout the 1990s, NKR's independence leaders collaborated with other unrecognized countries but at the advice of American consultants, they withdrew their close ties. Washington felt that it was not beneficial for NKR to be lumped with Abkhazia and Pridnestrovie (Transdniester), and the "handlers" held out the promise of quick international independence recognition if Nagorno-Karabakh would seek its own way.

No such promise materialized, and Nagorno-Karabakh is now again inching closer to the other unrecognized countries in the region.

Discussions are underway for Nagorno-Karabakh to join the Community for Democracy and Human Rights, an international governmental organization founded by the three other unrecognized countries on the post-Soviet space. NKR currently participates with observer sates, but the Secretary-General of the group's Interparliamentary Assembly says that this is likely to change.

“ - The full membership of the Parliament of Nagorno Karabakh in the Assembly as well as the membership of other partially recognized states is under discussion," said Grigory Marakutsa, an ethnic Moldovan from Pridnestrovie (Transdniester) who was formerly Speaker of the PMR Parliament. (With information from Itar-Tass)

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



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