Nagorno-Karabakh dissolution is not valid, says Shahramanyan

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Russia's President Vladimir Putin meets with Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev on the sidelines of the Eurasian Economic Union summit in Moscow, Russia May 25, 2023. Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

On Friday, the leader of the Armenian separatists who were ousted from Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region earlier this year, declared that his prior decree calling for the dissolution of separatist institutions was not valid. This statement appeared to reverse a significant decision by the separatists to dissolve the contested territory, which had been the focal point of two costly wars between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2020 and the 1990s.

Azerbaijan deployed troops to Karabakh on September 19, and after just one day of conflict, the Armenian separatist forces, which had controlled the disputed region for three decades, surrendered and agreed to reunify with Baku.

On September 26, separatist President Samvel Shahramanyan issued a decree ordering the dissolution of separatist institutions by January 1, 2024. The decree stated that the breakaway republic would cease to exist by the end of the year. However, in an unexpected development on Friday, Shahramanyan reversed this announcement in comments made in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.

He stated, “there is no document from the Republic of Artsakh (Karabakh) stipulating the dissolution of government institutions.” His office separately communicated that the September 26 decree was “an empty paper,” emphasising that no document could lead to the dissolution of the republic, which was established by the will of the people.

Both Yerevan and Baku are unlikely to support the continued operation of separatist institutions, as they are on the verge of signing a peace agreement based on mutual recognition of territorial integrity.

Following Baku’s takeover, the majority of the ethnic-Armenian population, over 100,000 people, fled Karabakh for Armenia.

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