Take a sneak peek at the policies behind the political personalities.

Nagomo Karabakh
Despite regular meetings and talks between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Karabakh peace process still remains deadlocked. A possible resolution of the 14-year standoff is one of the most popular campaign topics for speculation, though many voters in opinion surveys routinely put it after jobs and corruption as a pressing issue.
Candidate Positions
Levon Ter-Petrosian :
Ter-Petrosian states that no progress has been registered in Armenia’s foreign policy since he left office in 1998 and that, in certain cases, matters have gotten worse. He cites resolution of the Karabakh conflict as a case in point.. He calls for a “[d]isplay of political will in the Karabakh conflict settlement, appear from positions of protection of the right of the Armenians of Artsakh [Nagorno Karabakh] to self-determination and search for a resolution of the issue based on mutual compromises.” Azerbaijan, he told an October 26 rally, "is not in a position to guarantee the security, freedom and welfare of the population of Nagorno Karabakh."

Serzh Sarkisian:
A native of Nagorno Karabakh, the prime minister promises that the Karabakh problem will be at the center of his attention if elected president. To settle the conflict, he argues that the Karabakh’s people right to self-determination must be internationally recognized and that conditions must be created for the exercise of that right, as well as for the security of the territory’s population and borders. “The Republic of Armenia and the NKR [de facto Nagorno Karabakh Republic] must have a shared border,” he says in his campaign platform.

Arman Melikian:
Melikian, a former de facto foreign minister of the self-declared Nagorno Karabakh Republic and an advisor to its former de facto president, Arkady Ghukassian, proposes restoring the territory’s participation in the talks held under the auspices of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Recognition of Karabakh’s independence and its current borders should be part of those discussions, he asserts. He states that Armenia should “ask the NKR [de facto Nagorno Karabakh Republic] to provide plots of lands from within the "liberated" territories adjoining Karabakh [seven Azerbaijani territories occupied by ethnic Armenian forces] to Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan who sustained financial and moral damages during the war and that they should be given the “right to own them.” The Stepanakert government should “encourage the population “ to make “economically profitable use” of the said territories, he argues. Details are not provided.

Vahan Hovhannisian:
True to his party's nationalist orientation, Hovhannisian argues that the Karabakh issue stands at the core of the "Armenian cause." “Until an international recognition of liberated Artsakh’s status, the Republic of Armenia must support the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s establishing and developing international ties,” his campaign platform says in reference to the self-declared Nagorno Karabakh Republic, traditionally referred to as Artsakh. “ The NKR’s immediate participation must be ensured in negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the problem. The settlement of the problem must be unequivocally acceptable for the citizens of Armenia and Artsakh.”

Aram Harutiunian :
Harutiunian believes that “justice and law are on our side,” but that Armenia does not have a national concept to underlie its foreign policy on the question of Nagorno Karabakh. For this reason, he affirms, the country is “losing the propaganda and diplomatic war.”

Artur Baghdasarian :
As have other candidates, Baghdadasarian asserts a no-bargaining stance on Nagorno Karabakh and its "right to self-determination," but argues that the breakaway territory should take an active part in negotiations with Azerbaijan.

Vazgen Manukian:
Manukian also calls for Nagorno Karabakh to rejoin negotiations, whose main purpose he sees as the de jure international recognition of the territory's independence from Azerbaijan. “The results of the negotiations must create clear guarantees of security for the NKR’s [de facto Nagorno Karabakh Republic's] population, ensure conditions for its stable social and economic development, to create a full opportunity for resettlement of refugees and forcibly displaced people,” Manukian says.

Tigran Karapetian:
The danger of "mutual concessions" with Azerbaijan on Karabakh, Karapetian argued at a recent press conference, lies in the supposition that "the heights" -- an apparent reference to the Karabakh town of Shushi (Shusha in Azeri) -- would have to be returned to Azerbaijan. Shushi's 1992 seizure by ethnic Armenian forces facilitated the repulsion of the Azerbaijani military from Karabakh.

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