President of non-recognized republic elected for a new term

Arkady Gukasian, the current President of the non-recognized republic of Nagorny Karabakh, has won the republican presidential election by collecting 88.4% votes in his favour and will remain the President of Nagorny Karabakh for the next five years, reported Leonid Martirosian of the republic's Central Electoral Commission.

The presidential election in Nagorny Karabakh has triggered a sharp protest from Azerbaijani President Geidar Aliyev, who told Iran's deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Amin Zadeh during a meeting held on August 6th that the United Nations, the European Union, and the Council of Europe all refused to recognize the election.

In a special statement released on August 2nd, the European Union spoke in favour of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity by saying it refused to recognize Nagorny Karabakh as an independent republic.

Walter Schwimmer of the Council of Europe, too, called the election "politically inopportune." "The point at issue is to find a political solution to the problem of Nagorny Karabakh," he said as he urged the authorities of Armenia and Azerbaijan to make a "sincere effort" in this direction and thereby prove their status of member states of the Council of Europe.

On August 5th, Armenia's Foreign Minister Dzyunik Agadzhanian responded by saying that "Armenia, regardless of political motives behind such statements, welcomes the will of the people inhabiting Nagorny Karabakh to hold a presidential election and the consequential creation of a democratic society." Moscow thinks the future status of Nagorny Karabakh must be defined in the course of Minsk-based political negotiations between the parties concerned, Russia's deputy official spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry Boris Malakhov declared on August 7th. He also confirmed that Moscow supports "the principle of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity as well as other basic norms and principles of international law."

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