Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, on Friday, 2 September, marked the 31st anniversary of the declaration of the "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic". Festivities this year were rather muted, but it was an opportunity for Armenian politicians to set out their position on the future of the territory at this important juncture.
Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan issued a statement that observers consider to be very nuanced, and that gives an indication of the position of the Armenian government on the issue.
The full statement says:
"31 years ago on this day, the joint session of deputies of all levels of the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Region and Shahumyan region made a decision on the adoption of the declaration of independence of Nagorno Karabakh by exercising the right to self-determination.
This decision of our compatriots was the answer to the existential threat, the manifestations of which were the massacres in Sumgait, Baku, Kirovabad. This decision was made as a guarantee for the protection of the security and rights of Artsakh Armenians.
The declaration of independence was followed by the referendum held on December 10, 1991, the 1st Artsakh war, the 4-day war, and the 44-day war. The fact that our compatriots continue to live in Nagorno Karabakh or in a part of it, remained the same. And they have the right to live in their own home, in a safe environment where their rights will be protected. Basically, this is the essence of the Nagorno Karabakh issue.
All statements about the non-existence of Nagorno-Karabakh as a territorial unit and Nagorno-Karabakh issue being solved are irrelevant, unless the issues of security and protection of the rights of the Artsakh Armenians are irrevocably addressed, and accordingly, the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, regarding which the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairmanship has a mandate approved by the international community that has never been revoked.
The international community is obliged to make efforts to address the humanitarian problems caused by the 44-day war and to prevent the implementation of the policy of ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Republic of Armenia will continue to support the maintenance of normal life in Nagorno-Karabakh, security and human rights protection. Today, we express our appreciation to the Person who embodies Nagorno-Karabakh, and our task is to ensure through peaceful, civilized means, through negotiations his inalienable right to live and create peacefully.
Today, we humbly remember our brothers and sisters who were martyred for the protection of the rights of our compatriots in Nagorno-Karabakh, and our obligation to them is ensuring peaceful Nagorno-Karabakh, peaceful Armenia, peaceful South Caucasus."