Yerevan marks Karabakh's independence
An unofficial delegation from Armenia was present this year. Tensions remain with Azerbaijan, which claims Armenian-majority territory. Baku continues to have territorial claims over Yerevan. According to the Armenians, the Brussels agreements have not established the status of the region.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - Solemn celebrations were held in Stepanakert, an Armenian city in Nagorno Karabakh, to mark the region's Independence Day. For the first time, however, no official delegation came from Yerevan to the territory disputed with Azerbaijan, although representatives of the country's political leadership were not absent.
Already last year, the first after the 44-day war with Baku, Armenia had refrained from sending government representatives to Nagorno Karabakh, but a large parliamentary delegation from the National Assembly, led by deputy speaker Ruben Rubinyan, was nevertheless present in Stepanakert. The parliament did not send an official representation this year, but all three party groups represented sent their own delegation.
Two deputies, Lilit Stepanyan and Rustam Bakoyan, from the majority group of 'Civil Accord', arrived in Karabakh on 2 September. They said they were sent by the entire parliamentary group: 'Everyone would have liked to come, but it was not possible, so we are proud to be in Artsakh,' using the region's Armenian name. Bakoyan also attributed the withdrawal of the official Assembly delegation to Speaker Alena Simonyan, who did not want to explain herself to journalists.
Present and past leaders of Armenian Karabakh were present at the independence celebrations: President Araik Arutjunyan, Speaker of the local Parliament Artur Tovmasyan and former President Bakoyan Sajakyan. The deputies from Yerevan were greeted only as 'guests of the republic of Armenia'.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pašinyan sent a congratulatory message on the 31st anniversary of the proclamation of independent Nagorno Karabakh, reminding that 'all declarations about the non-existence of Artsakh as a territorial unit, and the now-defined solution of the problems on the composition of this territory, are completely misplaced, until the security and defence of the rights of Armenian citizens are guaranteed, and only then can one speak about the final status of Nagorno Karabakh'.
Baku was bitterly critical of the demonstrations in Stepanakert, especially after the visit of the secretary of the Yerevan Security Council, Armen Grigoryan, two days after the Independence Day celebrations. Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry issued a note in which it considered this visit 'yet another provocation by Armenia', which 'damages the efforts to normalise relations between the two states'.
According to the Azerbaijanis, these provocative gestures were 'consciously made' after the official meeting of the leaders of the two countries in Brussels, in order to once again call into question the agreements reached. All this 'clearly demonstrates the lack of sincerity of the Armenian side in the process of settling the conflict', and that there are still territorial claims on the part of Yerevan, to which 'the necessary answers will be given' by Baku.
In turn, the Foreign Ministry in Yerevan responded to the Azerbaijani complaints, which it considers 'speculations concerning the Brussels Agreements, which in no way closed the definition of the status of Nagorno Karabakh'. The feeling is that the dispute in this regard will not be concluded any time soon.