No War As Long As Karabakh Remains Strons Says Ghoukassian

YEREVAN (Hayots Ashkhar)–Nagorno-Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian arrived in Yerevan on Thursday following an invitation by Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

Ghoukassian will take part in the celebrations of the sixth anniversary of Armenia’s reestablished independence–and according to sources will hold discussions with Armenian officials on the Karabakh conflict.

Commenting on Karabakh Defense Minister Samvel Babayan’s recent declaration that Karabakh may get involved in military combat–Ghoukassian said that in all cases the people and the army of Karabakh should be ready for the worst possible outcome.

"This doesn’t mean there will necessarily be a war. Yet–for as long as we are strong and ready–there will be no war. There can be war if people and army of the Karabakh republic lacked preparations for such situations," the President declared.

During a press conference upon his arrival–Ghoukassian touched on several issues in regards to the Karabakh conflict. He–at all times–however–stressed that Karabakh and its people are completely ready for any possible situation.

He added that in certain circles–particularly in Azerbaijan and the mediating forces in the confict–there is talk of returning Karabakh to its historical status quo of 1988. Ghoukassian–however–countered that proposal saying that if the status quo of 1988 is considered history–then on the same token the status quo of 1918 is just as valid–hence–why not return Karabakh to that true historic period.

Ghoukassian went on to say that sources report that the Azeri government is amid an intensive project of strengthening its military–and that is exacly why–he continued–is it absolutely essential for Karabakh to be ready for the worst possible scenario.

The newly-elected president said that it is Azerbaijan who is unwilling to come to the negotiating table with Karabakh. We are ready and willing to examine the conflict–and negotiate a settlement directly with the Azeri government–however at the same time–our posture does not mean that we are going to by any means submit to that government.

No one may just hand over Karabakh to anyone. The only real solution to the conflict will be direct negotiations between the two sides–which will result in concrete solutions–concluded the President.

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