The draft legislation was authored by Raffi Hovannisian, a former foreign minister who heads the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party.
It consists of two paragraphs -- that Armenia recognizes the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, and that the law enters into force once it's officially published.
Parliament speaker Tigran Torosian, who has approved the bill for submission to parliamentary committees, told RFE/RL's Armenian Service today that the bill is misguided.
"The issue of recognizing the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic should not be connected to this bill," he said. "The recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic by the Republic of Armenia should have a serious foundation. It is not right when people who are not informed about the details and modality of the process of negotiations for obvious reasons introduce bills like this one to the parliament."
A spokesman for Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry, Khazar Ibrahim, criticized the initiative, saying today that Armenia's political opposition should "recognize their mistakes" instead of "recognizing Azerbaijan's territory as their own."
Nagorno-Karabakh is enclave predominantly populated by ethnic Armenians that that declared its independence from Azerbaijan in 1991. The move led to a bloody war between Armenia and Azerbaijan that ended when Russian brokered a cease-fire in 1994.
To this day the conflict remains "frozen," and no country, including Armenia, recognizes the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The new bill will be distributed to committees for consideration before a reading by the National Assembly, which begins its fall session on September 10.
Ethnic Armenians displaced by fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh in the 1980s (Photolur)
HOW MANY MISSING? Well over a decade after conflicts in the South Caucasus froze, the International Committee of the Red Cross says new cases of missing people continue to emerge. Significant progress will, it fears, have to wait for final peace agreements.
Ethnic conflicts in the 1990s claimed tens of thousands of lives in the South Caucasus. Some 15 years later, many families are still searching for information about relatives who disappeared without a trace in the fighting.... (more)
Frozen Conflicts Show Little Sign Of Thaw
South Caucasus Countries Discuss 'Frozen Conflicts,' Closer Ties
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