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Armenia/Azerbaijan: Karabakh Wants Package Solution

Yerevan, 8 October 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The president of the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh says the disputed region within Azerbaijan will continue to demand a package solution to the conflict, even though Armenia prefers a step-by-step solution.

Arkadii Ghukasyan told a news conference in the region's capital, Stepanakert, today that the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians still believe that all the key contentious issues, including the region's future status, must be settled by a single comprehensive peace accord.

Ghukasyan's statement follows last month's announcement by Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan, who expressed his support for the OSCE Minsk Group's proposed step-by-step approach to resolving the conflict. This approach envisages postponing the definition of Nagorno-Karabakh's status until the final phase of the peace process. Ter-Petrossyan also said the Armenian side's "unilateral demands" for Nagorno-Karabakh's independence are not realistic and will not be tolerated by the international community.

Ghukasyan said yesterday the step-by-step solution is dangerous for Nagorno-Karabakh's security because it gives no guarantees against a possible Azerbaijani attack. He said that "differences" with Armenia have always existed, and that he discussed them "a few days ago" with Ter-Petrossyan, but gave no futher details

Ghukasyan again said that Nagorno-Karabakh is ready "to discuss a confederative relationship" with Azerbaijan that would exclude any "vertical" subordination. He said Stepanakert is ready "to cede part of its de-facto independence in order to build horizontal ties" with Azerbaijan underpinned by international agreements.