Kocharian Travels to Karabakh to Mediate Standoff; Supports Ghoukassian

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenian President Robert Kocharian arrived last Saturday in Stepanakert–Karabakh to discuss the domestic political situation in the country with the Karabakh leaders. Accompanying the president were Minister of the Interior of Armenia Souren Abramian–Minister of Defense Vagharshak Haroutiunian and other officials.

Later that day Kocharian held a two-hour meeting with the Karabakh leadership at the office of Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian. Attending the meeting were also Speaker of the Karabakh National Assembly Oleg Yesayan–Prime Minister Anushavan Danielian–Minister of Defense Samvel Babayan as well as Minister of the Interior of Armenia S. Abramian and Minister of Defense V. Haroutiunian.

Following the meeting Kocharian met with members of the Karabakh Parliament–government officials–High Command of the Karabakh Defense Army and public representatives.

In his speech Kocharian expressed concern over the current unstable political situation in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. He pointed out that domestic political tension in the country is inadmissible–and may produce a negative impact on the Karabakh’s international image. According to Kocharian–"we are all responsible for the current situation and its further development."

The Armenian president described his meetings as effective and hope-inspiring. He expressed confidence that the problem will be settled. He stressed the need for gradual democratization of public life in Karabakh.

President Kocharian stressed that the Armenian authorities will support the legitimate political leadership of Karabakh.

"Although the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was on the brink of deep crisis–common sense has gained the upper hand," said member of the Karabakh parliament and the standing committee on defense and security Mourad Petrossian.

He noted that the leadership of Armenia and president of Karabakh share the view that the activities of the commander of the Karabakh Army of Defense Samvel Babayan should be focused on military issues only. According to Petrossian–Samvel Babayan is a rather influential figure in Karabakh.

By law–ex-prime minister of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic–who was detained by law-enforcement agencies on July 9–was to be indicted within three days after the arrest–no later than 6 p.m. on Monday. Thereafter he will either be placed under arrest or released on condition that he will not leave the area–the press service of the Karabakh President said quoting the republic’s Prosecutor General Mavrik Ghoukassian.

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