YEREVAN–On July 23 the ARF Central Committee of Artsakh released an official statement in support of current president Arkady Ghoukassian’s reelection campaign. A translation of the statement reads as follows:
"On August 11–2002–presidential elections will take place in Artsakh. The election will allow the people of Artsakh to express its independent choice–displaying the firm democratic foundations of the republic.
"We have shown that the progress achieved by the people of Artsakh during their struggle for independence can be secured only through a government that has a solid political agenda–which is capable of countering socio-political difficulties. For this reason the ARF of Artsakh has assisted the government in maintaining domestic stability and attaining international recognition of Artsakh’s right to self-determination.
"In light of the current stage in gaining international recognition for Artsakh’s right to self determination; taking into consideration the political circumstances of both Artsakh and the Republic Armenia; guided by the interests of the people of Armenia and their inseparable counterparts in Artsakh; in protection of national interests and the strengthening of the government by working with the current Nagorno Karabakh president to ensure fair and free elections–to combat corruption throughout the ran’s of government and to adopt an agenda that will improve the socio-political conditions of the state: the ARF Central Committee of Artsakh has decided to refrain from introducing its own candidate by supporting the candidacy of Arkady Ghoukassian."