Karabakh Leader Vows ‘Serious Changes ‘ Praises Army

KARABAKH(RFE/RL)–Arkady Ghoukasian–president of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR)–promised on December 18 sweeping changes in the make-up and structure of the disputed region’s government–official sources in Stepanakert reported.

At a meeting with the supreme command of the NKR Defense Army–Ghoukasian expressed that the time is ripe for serious staff and systemic changes in the country and that he will make sure that democracy takes roots in Karabakh.

The Karabakh leader–who survived an assassination attempt last March–has been accused by his opponents of cracking down on dissent since his victory a year ago in the power struggle with army Commander General Samvel Babayan.

Ghoukasian noted that the armed forces will continue to enhance their combat-readiness and are completely prepared to fight the enemy–if necessary. Noting considerable progress in boosting army discipline–Ghoukasian praised top officers for their non-interference in the politically unfavorable events of the past year.

The Armenia-backed Karabakh military–which controls vast areas in Azerbaijan proper–remained loyal to Ghoukasian even after Babayan’s arrest and subsequent prosecution on coup charges.

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