YEREVAN, September 16. /ARKA/. Speaking today at the first meeting of the Security Council of the Artsakh Republic (Nagorno-Karabakh), President Arayik Harutyunyan recalled that the Azerbaijan-Karabakh confrontation poses the greatest risks to the security of the republic.
“Artsakh is ready for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Nevertheless, we have clear-cut principles that underlie our policy. Firstly, the Artsakh authorities should fully participate in all stages of a peaceful and final settlement. Secondly, sovereignty, independence , the territorial integrity and security of Artsakh cannot under any circumstances be endangered or become a subject of bargaining, “Harutyunyan said.
The third principle is that without recognition of the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination, substantive discussions between the parties are impossible.
Harutyunyan said the fourth principle is the exclusion of attempts to settle the conflict by force or the threat of using force, since the Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples deserve to live in peace. Otherwise, Artsakh is ready to give a disproportionate response if attacked by Azerbaijan and shift milliliter actions to Azerbaijan’s territory.
“Fifthly, unilateral or disproportionate concessions on the part of the Artsakh authorities are excluded. Sixth, the rights of (Armenian – ed.) refugees and internally displaced persons should be taken into account on an equal basis with the rights of Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons,” Harutyunyan said.
As the last principle, he pointed out that the international community (first of all, the OSCE and the co-chairing countries) should exclude the violation and limitation of the rights of Artsakh due to the confrontation and the international status of the republic, including the possibility of its participation in international humanitarian programs.
Harutyunyan noted that the main mission of the Artsakh authorities in the security sphere is to guarantee the security of the Artsakh population, and in a broad sense, the Armenian people. In this context, the head of the republic noted the priority areas of policy, which include military security, stable economic development and self-sufficiency, the formation of a stable and effective political system and ensuring information security.
He attached also importance to the proper implementation of their duties by all government agencies.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict erupted into armed clashes after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s as the predominantly Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan sought to secede from Azerbaijan and declared its independence backed by a successful referendum.
On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations. A truce was brokered by Russia in 1994, although no permanent peace agreement has been signed. Since then, Nagorno-Karabakh and several adjacent regions have been under the control of Armenian forces of Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh is the longest-running post-Soviet era conflict and has continued to simmer despite the relative peace of the past two decades, with snipers causing tens of deaths a year.
In the early hours of April 2, 2016 Azerbaijan, in gross violation of the agreements launched a large-scale offensive along the entire Line of Contact between the armed forces of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan, using heavy weaponry, artillery and combat aircraft. Only thanks to the decisive actions of the Defense Army, which gave a fitting rebuff, on April 5, Azerbaijan was forced to ask, as in 1994, through the mediation of the Russian Federation for the cessation of the hostilities. It has been generally maintained, despite the recurrent violations by the Azerbaijani side.