Karabakh’s Senior Officers Demand Ghoukassian Babayan Resignations

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–On Wednesday evening–December 15–the senior officers of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Defense Army issued a statement demanding the resignations of Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian and Karabakh Defense Army Commander Samvel Babayan.

The statement–published in the Thursday issue of the "Haykakan Zhamanak" daily–expressed the senior officers’ deep concern over the internal political tension in Karabakh–which they believe have originated from the open confrontation between the two top officials of the country–Arkady Ghoukassian and Samvel Babayan.

The authors of the statement believe that by his speech on July 29 and subsequent steps the Karabakh President consistently shattered the country’s internal political situation and the kind of conduct on his part provoked counter-action on the part of the Karabakh Defense Army.

Proceeding from the vital necessity of eliminating the confrontation fraught with unpredictable consequences–the officers of the Defense Army believe the resignations of the two officials responsible for the confrontations and early presidential elections to be the only civilized way of ending the current crisis.

"It would be a fair–courageous and moral decision which–we believe–emanates from the interests of the entire nation. We take advantage of our prestige to call on Samvel Babayan to take our request in stride; we are convinced that appreciating the national interests he will agree on such a step. Now it’s up to Ghoukassian to announce in public his readiness to take the same step. Otherwise–all responsibility will lie with the Karabakh President," the statement claims.

According to official reports–Armenian Defense Minister Vagharshak Haroutiunian left for Karabakh to try to avert the situation threatening Karabakh’s stability.

"But further developmen’s showed that the visit had been undertaken in pursuit of quite a different goal. In fact–it was under Vagharshak Haroutiunian’s guidance that the Karabakh army officers made that decision," the Armenian daily maintains.

Armenian Defense Minister Lieutenant-General Vagharshak Haroutiunian–who is on a working visit to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic–held a meeting with Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian–members of the Karabakh Security Council–parliamentarians and government officials on December 15.

According to the Armenian President’s Press Service–the meeting discussed the internal political strife in Nagorno Karabakh that resulted from an assault on Prime Minister Anoushavan Danielian committed by Karabakh Armed Forces commander Samvel Babayan and his cohorts on Tuesday–December 14.

The meeting discussed ways to ease tensions. All those speaking at the meeting denounced the contemptible conduct of Babayan and his associates–describing it as an encroachment on Karabakh’s executive power and statehood. They all vowed support to the Karabakh President.

The same source reported that in addressing those present–Armenian Defense Minister Vagharshak Haroutiunian– said–"I agree with you–and I am glad that our opinions are absolutely the same."

In another development–13 deputies of the Karabakh parliament supporting the Karabakh army chief have demanded that the legislature meet for an emergency session to discuss the situation.

Local observers say they would try to impeach Ghoukassian. The parliament majority has so far been loyal to the Karabakh president.

An emergency meeting of Karabakh’s Security Council chaired by Ghoukassian was still going on as of late Thursday and no decisions were announced by that time.

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