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Armenia: President's Karabakh Policy Condemned

By Anna Israelian

Yerevan, 5 November 1997 (RFE/RL) -- An Armenian opposition leader says President Levon Ter-Petrossian's foreign policy may put an end to Armenian control of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Vazgen Manukian, the leader of the opposition National Democratic Union (AZhM) and a former presidential candidate, told RFE/RL today that if Ter-Petrossian remains in power "not only will we lose Nagorno-Karabakh but we will also become a weak and miserable nation living at subsistence level."

Manukian, who still claims he was the rightful winner of the September 22, 1996 presidential elections, opposes any solution to the dispute with Azerbaijan that would restore Baku's sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh. The AZhM and other opposition parties have denounced Ter-Petrossian's recent statement that unilateral demands for the disputed region's secession from Azerbaijan are "unrealistic."

Manukian said that international pressure on Armenia to recognize Azerbaijan's territorial integrity is not strong enough to force Yerevan to make serious concessions. "We could become a strong state without making an enemy of others. We must respect others' national interests and make them respect ours," he argued.