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YEREVAN. – The timing of nationwide regular elections in Artsakh coincided with a world full of serious challenges and threats, where preserving people’s health and saving lives is an absolute priority for all states and nations, Armenia’s ex-president and hero of Artsakh Serzh Sargsyan said in his address to the people of Artsakh ahead of the presidential elections.

“The understanding of security, safety, effective governance, even simple human behavior, caring for one another, and public relations are changing day by day or new perceptions are being formed in the world. Some see it as a new war, some as the worst crisis in modern human history, others see it as a serious threat to their national security with state borders being closed, the highest “red” level of epidemic danger declared, and so on.

Yes, saving human lives and effectively managing states in a crisis is the most important thing for everyone at this stage, and then the challenging post-crisis era comes to offset the economic losses and provide dignified living standards for citizens.

Artsakh’s authorities will hopefully consider the situation realistically and will give an accurate assessment of emerging threats and make decisions that will not endanger the lives of their citizens. I am confident that my comrades in arms, including those in power are well aware of the value of human life.

Please be vigilant, take care of yourself and your families, those in need of care. Please take care of your health and life. This is also a life-and-death struggle, just like in the war that we won together with dignity many years ago. Living in dignity for Artsakh first and foremost meant self-determination of its own destiny on its own land, for which we had so much to pay.

About three decades ago as a result of our righteous struggle, we won the right to live freely and in dignity at the cost of the lives of thousands of our brothers and sisters.

Our years-long negotiations on the international recognition of Artsakh’s right to self-determination were based on the results of your international standards-compliant national and local elections.

I used to urge visitors and foreign organizations interested in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue to visit Artsakh and see how Artsakh was building on its achievements based on universal values, democratic society and the idea of nation-state.

My honorable compatriots,

Whatever the decision of the Artsakh leadership these days to hold elections, whatever the situation may be, they will once again become evidence of your free will, which will continue to be a powerful battleground in the negotiation process.

Artsakh will never be part of Azerbaijan, and the election of the President of the Republic and the National Assembly should make this claim undeniable.

Reaffirm your will to build a strong, prosperous, nation-state based on universal human and Christian values.

Dear people of Artsakh, never allow a political struggle to undermine public solidarity, break the spirit of your unity and weaken your vigilance! The danger of war is as real today as it was three decades ago.

The rapidly evolving world, the instances of overt demonstration of force, wars that violate international humanitarian law and the apparently deadly epidemic sound a serious security alarm for us.

Elect the one who can best provide for your security, the one who is able to take the hardest test, and has proved it by his own example and heroism, capable of managing the country, presenting you confidently and honorably and expressing your will, your creative mind and potential to serve the cause of Artsakh’s empowerment and prosperity.

Form a parliament with wide political representation and pluralism and make the process of a free, independent, democratic Artsakh irreversible.

I believe that our collective power, with the trinity of Armenia, Artsakh, and the Diaspora, is capable of making our nation-wide ideas and goals come true, and that the newly elected authorities of Artsakh will support and abide by this idea.

May God protect and save Artsakh and our people!”

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