Jirair Boghossian Appointed Prime Minister of Karabakh

STEPANAKERT (Noyan Tapan–RFE/RL)–Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian signed a decree Saturday appointing Deputy Prime Minister Jirair Boghossian as Prime Minister of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

The new prime minister was instructed to present his proposals on the structure and composition of his new government in ten days’ time.

The announcement was made by Ghoukassian at his joint press conference with Parliament Speaker Oleg Yesayan–newly appointed Prime Minister Jirair Boghossian and Defense Minister Samvel Babayan.

Ghoukassian called this decision the best under the current circumstances–hoping that it will ease recent tension in the country. He said that the post of Prime Minister had been offered to Samvel Babayan–but that Babayan had decided that in the current situation of "not peace–not war" when the army needs day-to-day attention–he should remain defense minister. The other members of the leadership endorsed Babayan’s decision.

Babayan–in turn–stressed that he has no ambitions of becoming prime minister. The Defense Minister said that there is a problem in the personnel policy and the route of Karabakh’s economic development–and when both the president and the prime minister accept that truth–he will work in the government. Babayan ruled out a power crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh–saying that the enemy might take advantage of such a situation. "We have never had personal problems with the president–nor shall we have ones in the future," he said.

Ghoukassian–too–shared this opinion–describing as erroneous the opinion that the president and the defense minister are warring against each other. "We had intelligence and political will enough to prevent society from splitting in the name of the national interest–otherwise we would have lost everything," the president emphasized. "The clear example of Azerbaijan is enough to draw appropriate conclusions," the president commented.

Ghoukassian stressed that "there are not–and have never been" personal animosities between members of the NKR leadership–although there were differences of opinion over social-economic development. Alluding to the role of the media–Ghoukassian said that tensions had to some degree been exacerbated by distorted reporting of press conferences–but he added that this is normal in a democratic society

Ghoukassian noted that "the presence of all those persons who played a role in the recent crisis proves that democracy has taken deep root in our society." He said that all "fundamental problems" that had given rise to concern have been addressed–and all misunderstandings have been resolved. Most importantly–"everyone has made the interests of the state the cornerstone of their actions."

An engineer by profession–Boghossian is in his early 40s and has served for several years as deputy prime minister.

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