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Armenian Official Blasts Ter-Petrossian Over Karabakh Statements

Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian

Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian

YEREVAN -- A top Armenian official has accused former President Levon Ter-Petrossian of demoralizing the country with his statements on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Turkish-Armenian relations, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Deputy parliament speaker Samvel Nikoyan, of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), said on July 26 that Ter-Petrossian's claim that Armenia cannot achieve security and prosperity without making peace with Azerbaijan and Turkey amounts to advocating the "surrender" of the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Nikoyan said Ter-Petrossian's statement "and the logic [behind it] undermine Armenia's defense capability."

Ter-Petrosian said at an opposition party congress on July 17 that he had warned that the status quo in the conflict puts Armenia at a growing risk of another war with Azerbaijan.

"Without settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Turkish-Armenian relations, Armenia has no prospect of security, economic development, and an improved demographic situation, regardless of who will be in power," said Ter-Petrossian, the leader of the opposition Armenian National Congress alliance.

Ter-Petrossian's remarks have been criticized as "defeatist" not only by the HHK, but also major opposition parties such as the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and Zharangutyun (Heritage).

Some critics have compared Ter-Petrossian's recent comments with his conciliatory rhetoric on Karabakh in 1997. Ter-Petrossian was president from 1991-98.