DECLARATION: ARF Artsakh Central Committee

Dear Compatriots,

A politically motivated appointment is among the cabinet changes recently made by the president of Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR). Viewing the move as a troublesome precedent–the ARF Artsakh Central Committee finds it necessary to present the facts and its stance to the public.

On December 16–2004–during an address to top state officials–MKR President Arkady Ghukasian expressed disappointment with his government–accusing it of ongoing corruption and proposing to counter it with structural and cabinet changes. Astonishingly–days after his address–Ghukasian met with Minister of Education–Culture–and Sport Armen Sargsyan–who is also a member of the ARF–and despite praising his job performance–relieved him of his duties and instead offered the minister the position of presidential advisor.

The official explanation for the president’s action is that–within the context of the 2005 parliamentary elections–Sargsyan’s inclusion in the cabinet as a member of an independent political party represents a conflict of interest. The president seeks to create the impression that Sargsyan’s termination is part of his fight against corruption. In fact–Ghukasian is perturbed by the successes of the ARF and other democratic entities in past local elections–and fears similar results in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The offer to appoint Sargsyan as presidential advisor has been refused by the ARF Artsakh Central Committee.

In recent years–there has been cooperation between the presidency of MKR and the ARF Artsakh Central Committee. Sometimes the ARF has disagreed with Ghukasian’s domestic policies–but has–nonetheless–supported the president in the foremost interests of the people of newly independent Artsakh. The ARF Artsakh Central Committee has believed that it can be of benefit to the republic’s government–and sometimes help the president to reconsider certain hastily taken decisions. It is painful to note that at this critical juncture–the person at the helm of MKR has failed to grasp the significance of his mission–and not stoop to petty politicking. The president has failed to become a symbol of unity and harmony. With his recent action–Ghukasian has clearly impelled the ARF–the progressive force of Artsakh–to oppose him. The president’s action also indicates a failure to understand the local and international importance of free–legal–and democratic elections in Artsakh.

Once again stating its stance on the issues of international recognition of Artsakh’s self-determination–stability–the strengthening of its governance–and economic prosperity–the ARF Artsakh Central Committee has resolved the following:

1) In response to the politically motivated step taken by the president of MKR against the ARF–to recall ARF representatives serving in top levels of government executive.

2) In view of the fact that a complete break would be counterproductive at the moment–to continue to have ARF representation in the president’s Security Council. In the latter instance–the ARF’s decision is not self-serving and–for understandable reasons–we consider maintaining our representation in the Security Council as entirely rightful.

In the event of worsening future relations–the responsibility falls on MKR president Arkady Ghukasian.

ARF Artsakh Central Committee

Stepanakert

December 29–2004

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