Tigran Petrosyan

STEPANAKERT — Tigran Petrosyan, head of an anti-crisis body affiliated with the Karabakh president, wrote on Facebook that the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov presented a draft of proposals on the rights of Armenians within Azerbaijan.

The document published today by Petrosyan and attributed to Lavrov is titled “The fundamental principles and parameters of ensuring the rights and security of the Armenian population in the territory of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of Soviet Azerbaijan in accordance with the legislation of Azerbaijan” and contains 14 points.

They state that the Armenian population should have equal legal protection and should not be discriminated against on the basis of language, ethnicity or religion, should not be forcibly or involuntarily displaced, Armenians should not be persecuted for being part of the local government or armed groups, except when they are found guilty of war crimes in a judicial order.

The proposals state that the Armenian population should be proportionally part of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of power of Azerbaijan, including the Prosecutor’s Office and the Police of Azerbaijan, and participate in the decision-making concerning the Armenian population.

According to the proposals ascribed to Lavrov, the Armenian language should be freely used along with the Azerbaijani language in official writing and in public places. The inviolability of Armenians’ private property must be guaranteed, the religious freedom of Armenians must be ensured, education in Armenian from elementary grades to university, Armenian cultural and national identity must be preserved, the published document says.

It is stated that a separate agreement should be signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan, according to which close ties between the Armenian population of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of Soviet Azerbaijan and Armenia will be ensured, and the unimpeded receipt of humanitarian and economic aid for the Armenian population from outside should be ensured.

Petrosyan accompanied the publication of the document on Facebook with the following post: “I have to publish it so that the public understands what is really happening… Today, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has the opportunity to change his attitude and plans at the UN Security Council session… Let’s wait.”

The proposals were made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov regarding Nagorno-Karabakh late last month. On July 25, Lavrov met separately with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov, in Moscow, and then the three ministers’ tripartite meeting was also held. Receiving Bayramov in Moscow, Lavrov announced that in addition to the already signed statements, a number of documents were being prepared for discussion by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, without providing details about their content.

Political commentator Hakob Badalian voiced doubts regarding whether the revealed document was a submitted proposal or just a draft. He said that in any case the content of the presented proposals was unacceptable to both Yerevan and Stepanakert as it meant Nagorno-Karabakh’s dissolution. He, however, considered remarkable the timing of the leak – hours before the expected discussion at the UN Security Council and after a phone call between Lavrov and Bayramov.

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