Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan on Monday, in an address to his citizens, warned of a looming “disastrous war” that can threaten Armenia’s statehood and called for national unity to overcome the mammoth challenges facing the Nation.
He said the main challenge facing the republics of Artsakh and Armenia is to ensure the short- and long- term security of their respective countries.
Harutyunyan said that the Armenian people are living through a crucial period with serious crises affecting the world that include instability in the region, the continued Turkish-Azerbaijani aggression, the difficult security issue, humanitarian, socio-economic and psychological consequences of the 2020 war, the growing domestic political and national division and multiple other challenges.
“We must be honest and admit that the Armenian statehood is on the verge of a new and disastrous war which could lead to no less severe consequences as the 44-day war. And the prevention or management of this threat must take place with both security and political objectives,” Harutyunyan said.
The Artsakh president said the only solution will be the unification of efforts by all major players, especially in Armenia, through “honest dialogue and reasoning.” He said only unity of national forces will make it possible to overcome the “difficult and decisive challenges with honor.”
“Indeed, the authorities are always primarily responsible for the situation, but today everyone is bearing responsibility because we are facing dangers threatening our statehood, with the domestic discord being one of the reasons. Our international partners and generally the international community can provide only additional solutions in line with their own interests, but the resolution of our own problems depends on ourselves,” the president said.
He said that his government wants stability and peace in the region and will work toward that goal, sparing nothing. However, he said that any document that does not include Artsakh’s independence and its people’s right to self-determination cannot be acceptable to him and the people of Artsakh.
The government of Armenia on numerous occasions has assured the government of Artsakh that it will not sign any document relating to Artsakh without discussing it with Artsakh and taking into account its people’s position, Harutyunyan said. He added that conflict resolution and international recognition of independence requires a favorable geopolitical situation, functioning security guarantees, international will and action to suppress Azerbaijan’s aggressive policy and agenda.
“We must be patient and continue our path of strategic struggle, clearly maintaining the red lines. I am convinced that our just goal will be realized through reasonable, consistent and strategic efforts. Our statements that any document which could consider Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan being unacceptable for us are in the context of keeping these red lines. In this regard we hold regular political consultations with the government of Armenia, during which we presented and present our positions regarding the future of Artsakh, especially its security and status. The government of Armenia has assured that no document relating to Artsakh will be signed without discussing with us and taking into consideration the opinion of the people of Artsakh. I once again assure you that we will not accept any document contradicting the interests of the people of Artsakh, and I am announcing this now for the entire world to hear,” Harutyunyan emphasized.
The Artsakh president said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved primarily based on the right to self determination of the people of Artsakh and the full recognition of the results of the exercise of that right. He said that the right to self-determination is guaranteed to the people of Artsakh not only through international legal documents, but also OSCE documents, which has the international mandate for the conflict resolution.
According to the president, as a result of the 2020 war two of the three principles in the basis of the conflict resolution have become immediate and are long overdue – territorial integrity, the inadmissibility of the use of force or the threat of force.
“Azerbaijan’s aggression and crimes against humanity have undeniably strengthened the need for a full recognition and protection of Artsakh’s right to self determination, both as an outstanding principle and obligation by the international community and a guarantee of the physical existence of the people of Artsakh,” Harutyunyan said.
“Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity, once again, to call on the the international community to fulfill its obligations and recognize the right to self-determination of the people of Artsakh and the independence of the Republic of Artsakh,” stressed Harutyunyan.
“Attempts to overlook the right to self-determination of the people of Artsakh through the principle of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity are unacceptable and unfounded because any right always supersedes principle,” the President of Artsakh said, adding that his government will continue to seek international recognition of the independence of Artsakh, “a path we chose in 1991, which, on must not harm the highest principle of integrating with Armenia.”
Harutyunyan said his government will spare no effort to modernize the country’s defense system and conform it to existing challenges.
He said Artsakh wants peace and stability in the entire region, but given the Azerbaijani threats they have the right and are obliged to think about self-defense capabilities and opportunities.
“The existing problem in not only the Artsakh-Azerbaijan relations but also Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, which must be solved through negotiations, and Azerbaijan must be an honest supporter of this approach, displaying commitment to respect the interests and rights of all parties and principles of ruling out the use of force,” Harutyunyan said.
The Artsakh leader said that maximum effort must be expended for guaranteeing long-term security which will enable to keep Artsakh Armenian and embark on a phase of sustainable growth.
He said that numerous efforts by the government were aimed to realize this goal, including his appeal to the people to return and live in Artsakh after the war.
“Regardless of the difficulties and security risks, the only path to keep Artsakh Armenian is to live and prosper in Artsakh, and in addition to the international and state guarantees and efforts, every person living in Artsakh must stand ready to assume their share of responsibility of the sacred mission of keeping Artsakh Armenian,” Harutyunyan said. “Thousands of our brothers and sisters have made the ultimate sacrifice for this goal. In this context I would like to say that my family has always lived and will continue to live in Artsakh, and I can guarantee the security of every family living in Artsakh as much as I am able to guarantee the security of my own family.”
Harutyunyan also expressed hope that it will be possible to raise the effectiveness of the Russian peacekeeping mission in Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) and ensure its indefinite, presence there as the most important guarantee of security of the people of Artsakh.
“Despite the ongoing geopolitical developments in the world and the region, as well as the existing challenges, Russia continues to ensure the security of the people of Artsakh, although it is fragile and relatively stable,” Harutyunyan said.
“Due to Russia’s preoccupation, the guarantees of the Russian peacekeepers have somewhat fractured, and Azerbaijan is taking advantage of this. On the other hand, all foreign enemy forces are consistently making military and information provocations to undermine the role of the Russian peacekeepers and develop distrust toward Russia among the people of Artsakh,” added Harutyunyan.