Sunday, September 30, 2007

Breakaway state still struggling for recognition

By Levon Sevunts
September 30, 2007

STEPANAKERT, Nagorno-Karabakh

Even if a draft law forcing the govern-ment of Armenia to recognize the inde- pendence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is rejected by the Armenian parliament, residents of this breakaway republic say they will continue their struggle for international recognition.

Populated mostly by Armenians this lush mountainous region, slightly larger than Rhode Island, broke away from Azerbaijan after a bitter war between 1990 and 1994.

Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians, supported by their brethren in Armenia, emerged victorious from a bloody conflict that killed more than 35,000 people on both sides.

The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic formally declared its independence in 1992. At the time, many critics dismissed the move as a shrewd political maneuver by Armenians — who were starting to win the war — to deflect international criticism from Armenia proper.

Today, Karabakh possesses almost all the trappings of a state. It has its own flag and its own army. It issues entry visas to foreign visitors and its residents regularly vote in elections to all levels of government.

But Nagorno-Karabakh's de facto independence hasn't been recognized by any country, not even its closest ally: Armenia.

And Armenian authorities have made it clear they have no plans to recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as an independent state despite pressure from a major opposition party.

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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