Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan appealed to Armenia’s authorities to refrain from any efforts and statements that consider Artsakh part of Azerbaijan, urging Yerevan to remain true to state and international obligations, as well as Armenian national interests and aspirations.
Harutyunyan made the statement in a nationally televised address in light of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s announcement on Monday that signaled Yerevan’s readiness to see Artsakh under Azerbaijani control.
In response to Pashinyan’s announcement, Artsakh’s National Assembly unanimously approved an angrily-worded statement condemning Pashinyan for his actions. Harutyunyan welcomed the parliament’s statement.
In his remarks directed at Armenia’s authorities, Harutyunyan said that his government fully comprehends that Armenia finds itself in a vulnerable position after the 2020 war, adding that the Artsakh authorities have approached various developments with great understanding and have and continue to endure the brunt of all kinds of deprivations, in order to neutralize all intimidation tactics that might force Armenia to make concessions.
“However, there are concrete principles and red lines whose violation we consider unacceptable and inadmissible. Recognizing Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan is one of those red lines, which we are confident that the for the vast majority of Armenians remains the same,” Harutyunyan said.
“The main condition for the Republic of Armenia, in its dealings and posturing as it relates to Artsakh, must be the expression of the will of the people of Artsakh, which was unequivocally voiced through the independence and constitutional referendums that took place with the unconditional support of the Republic of Armenia and all Armenians around the world,” Harutyunyan added.
“The normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan cannot take place with a completely separate approach from that of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict and at the expense of the fundamental rights and interests of the people of Artsakh,” emphasized the Artsakh leader who also stressed that these principles are an integral and crucial part of the interests of the entire Armenian Nation.
“For us any announcement or document that ignores the self-governance of the Republic of Artsakh, the right to self-determination of our people and the facts of its practical implementation, are unacceptable,” Haurutyunyan said in welcoming the Artsakh National Assembly’s unanimous declaration and in response to Pashinyan’s announcement.
“Artsakh has never been and will never be part of Azerbaijan, because this is the will of our people who have an unwavering determination to fight for their rights and interests. I am confident that those fighting [for these rights] will not be alone. Not only will all Armenians continue to support our struggle, there will be principled supporters in the international arena,” added Harutyunyan.
The Artsakh president said that the ongoing threats to the safety of Artsakh, the deteriorating humanitarian conditions as a result of the five-month-old blockade and international developments prompted him to speak to the nation. He enumerated the mounting challenges and said that the following issues continued to impact the landscape and stability:
- The more than five-month-long blockade of Artsakh has increased the humanitarian and political challenges and added to security threats;
- The deterioration of the humanitarian situation and the increase of risks due to the ongoing risks to Artsakh’s vital infrastructures;
- The ongoing threats of new military aggression by Azerbaijan against Artsakh and overt ethnic cleansing ambitions;
- The serious breach of the Russian guarantees to the security of the people of Artsakh, mandated by the tripartite declaration of November 9, 2020.
- The escalation of geopolitical tensions in the region and Azerbaijan’s aggressive policies stemming from the Russia-Ukraine conflict;
- The continued weakening of international structures and the failure of the international community to ensure the security and fundamental rights of the people of Artsakh and uphold the implementation of the decisions of international courts;
- Armenia’s continued weakening position in the process to normalize relations with Azerbaijan and efforts to recognize Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan.
Harutyunyan said that Russia, and its president Vladimir Putin, have shouldered obligations outlined in the November 9, 2020 agreement that include keeping the Lachin Corridor open; eliminating all obstacles advanced by Azerbaijan, freeing the 120,000 residents of Artsakh from becoming hostages to terrorists; and preventing Azerbaijan’s aggression against the people of Artsakh.
“Regardless of how the actions of the other sides [to the agreements], Russia has taken on specific obligations, which have served as a critical impetus for the people of Artsakh to return after the war. Thus, we expect the unwavering and decisive fulfillment of those obligations, in the name of the interests of Artsakh and Russia, as well as the centuries-old alliance and friendship between the Armenians and Russians,” Harutyunyan stressed.
The Artsakh president also appealed to all stakeholders in the international community, especially the United Nations Security Council “to first and foremost ensure that Azerbaijan fully adheres to the February 22, 2023 decision of the UN’s International Court of Justice ruling.”
He also emphasized that it is crucial to guarantee the security of the people of Artsakh based on UN principles and goals, through various mechanisms.