Artsakh President Samuel Shahramanyan has spoken with his three predecessors and other Artsakh officials who were arrested by Azerbaijani forces after more than 100,000 residents were forced to leave Artsakh last month.
Shahramanyan’s conversation with former presidents Arkady Ghukasian, Bako Shahakian and Arayik Harutyunyan was announced by an Artsakh lawmaker, who told Azatutyun.am about the Artsakh president’s contacts with other officials who were arrested.
“When I and other deputies were meeting with the president, we asked what news there is from our captured high-ranking officials. He said that … he spoke with them and they said they have not been tortured,” Galstian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. He said he is not aware of other details of the phone calls.
In another conversation with Azatutyun.am, Shahramanyan’s advisor Vladimir Grigoryan refuted rumors that the Artsakh president was in daily contact with Azerbaijani authorities.
Samvel Babayan, a former Artsakh army commander and an opposition figure there, said on Wednesday that Shahramanyan is “calling Baku every day” to discuss the possible return of the Artsakh Armenians. Babayan declined to elaborate on his claims.
Grigoryan insisted that the Artsakh leader may have only talked to Azerbaijani officials about “technical issues” such as the continuing detention in Baku of his three predecessors and several other current and former Artsakh officials.
“If they call from there or we try to get in touch from here, I don’t know whether we can consider that a contact,” Grigoryan explained. “We definitely can’t call it a negotiation.”
The three former Artsakh presidents, as well as Artsakh parliament speaker Davit Ishkhanyan, the former foreign minister David Babayan, and the former state minister Ruben Vardanyan, along with two military leaders, were detained and are currently serving what Baku authorities are calling four-month “pre-trial” sentences.