Yesterday (2 September) Armenians marked 30 years since the proclamation of independence of the unrecognised state of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR). This was the first such occasion that was not attended in Stepanakert by any of the senior leadership of the Republic of Armenia – the prime minister, the president, or the president of the National Assembly (the parliamentary speaker) – as had already been reported earlier this week by multiple Armenian news sources.
In a statement published yesterday, the self-styled MFA of the NKR wrote:
“Since its independence, the Republic of Artsakh [NKR] has gone through numerous trials, including devastating wars and heavy losses. Nevertheless, neither terror and threats, nor blockade and repeated armed aggressions could break the will of the people of Artsakh and their determination to defend the independence and sovereignty, as well as to strengthen and develop their statehood.”
It added, “While remaining committed to the ideals, goals and principles of the national liberation movement, the people and the authorities of the Republic of Artsakh will continue with unwavering determination to seek international recognition of the country's independence and restoration of its territorial integrity, to strengthen and develop sovereign statehood.”
In a message published on Hetq, the self-styled president of the NKR, Arayik Harutyunyan, referred to 2 September as “the most important day in our life”, adding, “We have had achievements and losses on the way to state building. I bow my head in memory of the martyrs who fell for the sake of the homeland.” He finished by exclaiming the people of the de facto NKR had a “historic obligation” to live and create in their homeland, and “to build the Artsakh Republic, guided by our national values, with internationally enshrined rights”.
Despite their absence in Stepanakert for the occasion, some senior political figures in Armenia also extended their messages to the unrecognised state. In a message, Armen Sarkissian, the president of Armenia, offered his condolences to the families and relatives of those that died in last year’s 44-day war. He proclaimed, “Issues of ensuring the security of Artsakh and the inviolability of its population, the constant threat of a new war by Azerbaijan, the status of Artsakh, social-economic and humanitarian matters are priorities on the national agenda.”