On February 23, President of the Artsakh Republic Arayik Harutyunyan chaired a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.
The Head of the State presented the military political and socio-economic situation developed in the republic as a result of the blockade of Artsakh by Azerbaijan, as well as the measures taken by the authorities aimed at the solution of the emerging issues.
During the meeting, President Harutyunyan also publicized the decree on the dismissal of Ruben Vardanyan from the position of State Minister. He highly appreciated Vardanyan's efforts both in raising international awareness of Artsakh and solving numerous domestic problems during the blockade.
"Ruben Vardanyan and I have been together during this whole time, following the events and developments happening both in Artsakh and in the outer world on a daily basis, we have constantly exchanged ideas about finding solutions to the current situation. I am grateful to Mr. Vardanyan for his eagerness to always share the responsibility with me to the maximum extent in both friendly and partnership relations and did not try to put it on me referring to the constitutional norms. But on the other hand, he approached with awareness and understanding to the scope and extent of my personal responsibility for the situation created in Artsakh and all future problems," the Head of the State highlighted.
Arayik Harutyunyan noted that he proposed Prosecutor General Gurgen Nersisyan to assume the responsibilities of the State Minister, taking into account his professional and human qualities, professionalism, fairness, principled stance and statehood-orientedness.
The President informed that all executive bodies will be in the sphere of coordination of the new state minister, except for the law enforcement agencies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Talking about the settlement of the long conflict between Azerbaijan and Artsakh and related issues, he noted: "We are ready for dialogue and conflict settlement with Azerbaijan, but we have clear principles and red lines that derive from the fundamental rights, vital interests and demands of the people of Artsakh."
According to him, it is necessary to realize that the Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora trinity should be cherished and strengthened, 'because it is in our national interests, and it is unacceptable to treat any of these three as a completely separate or disturbing entity.'
"Yes, Artsakh is of exceptional importance for the Armenian people, based on objective reality, Artsakh strives to act independently in solving its own problems and raise the level of international subjectivity, but without the constant support and accompaniment of Armenia and the Diaspora, Artsakh cannot succeed. And Artsakh also takes responsibility for its part in the protection of national interests," he said.
When asked what is being done to ensure security, the presiden said: "Considerable work has been done and is being done to increase the efficiency of the own security system, but considering the highly sensitive issues on this topic, it is preferable to talk less about them and work more."
"Everyone living in Artsakh has the right to life, from which is born the right of universal self-defense to protect that right from attacks and harassment. This right will inextricably accompany us as long as there is a threat to the life and health of our citizens. However, given the extent of our vulnerability, it is important to recognize that external safeguards for our security will continue to play a critical role for us for a long time to come."
"Therefore, we are making efforts to improve the level of effectiveness of the Russian peacekeeping mission, as well as discussing the possibilities of applying other international political guarantees.
"Although the conflict with Azerbaijan is our main challenge, which negatively affects all spheres of life of the people of Artsakh, our internal issues are also important in building a stronger and more developed future. Moreover, they also directly affect the effectiveness of efforts to solve security and foreign policy issues," the President added.
"First of all, it should be noted that in terms of the future of Artsakh, there is a unified position in the entire society, including the political system. However, it is problematic that under the influence of various speculations and rumors, false and groundless divisions are being provoked in the society on this topic, and it is unfortunate that this is done not only by the Azerbaijani side, but also sometimes by the Armenian circles.
"Mutual respect and tolerance is very important inside. Everyone should realize that we have no enemies inside, we have chosen the dignified way to live and fight in our homeland, and we are all in the same line and position of the struggle. Therefore, I expect and demand that we all behave with the logic of fierce struggle, being united around our goals and values, not about individuals, including me, because the main reason for our internal divisions is usually in personalized approaches.
"After November 9, 2020, one of the most important imperatives facing the Republic of Artsakh was ensuring internal solidarity and unity in order to overcome the problems facing the country in a dignified manner. Nevertheless, the dissatisfaction formed among the public and the atmosphere of mistrust towards each other still continues to be preserved, which forces the authorities to take additional steps to ensure the stability and lasting peace of life in Artsakh," he noted.
"There is a lot that depends on each of us in building a better future for Artsakh, and the mentality of helplessness and indifference spread by the enemy is highly unacceptable and dangerous. The main factor influencing the future of Artsakh remains the will and behavior of the people of Artsakh, which the Azerbaijani side is working to break as much as possible, using a criminal and wide toolkit of physical and psychological pressure.
"Every citizen has at least two clear things to do for the future of Artsakh, that is to live in Artsakh and to do daily compassionate, proactive and continuously improving work in his position, from soldier to teacher, from farmer to public servant. No matter how difficult the struggle may seem, there are solutions, and running away from it is running away from one's values and responsibility. And the state, more than ever, will stand next to every citizen, sharing the honorable burden of struggle and responsibility.
"Therefore, we continue our struggle for an Armenian, independent and safe Artsakh, living resolutely and acting compassionately in Artsakh," he concluded.