“The most important item on our agenda is the issue of clarifying the status of Artsakh” - Nikol Pashinyan meets with Arayik Harutyunyan
Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with President of the Artsakh Republic Arayik Harutyunyan in the Office of Government. This was their first meeting after the early parliamentary elections in Armenia and Nikol Pashinyan’s July 7 working visit to the Russian Federation.
Nikol Pashinyan: Mr. President, welcome to the Office of Government. This is our first official meeting after the early parliamentary elections and it is important in that we can outline our next steps. We have passed a challenging path together, I mean the Republic of Artsakh, the Republic of Armenia, our people. The responsibility, the honor to lead our people in these difficult times rests with us and we must live up to our mission.
We have talked a lot about the details of what happened during the pre-election period and following the elections. I consider it important to emphasize that during the electoral campaign I clearly stressed the need to carefully study the circumstances of the 44-day war, and it is important that we formulate such a format and organize work in such a way that might lead to reliable findings, considering that many important questions need to be answered yet.
I also think it important to state that after the 44-day war, we made serious efforts together to restore normal life in Artsakh. During that time we probably had dozens of formal and informal meetings, and to be honest, I am pleased with the current status of our cooperation; I consider that we have so far made effective decisions. I hope our compatriots in Artsakh will feel the efficiency of those decisions, but of course, there are strategic programs to be discussed in the near future, I mean the social and economic spheres.
Indeed, the most important item on our agenda is the issue of clarifying the status of Artsakh. And we must state that after November 9, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs made a statement, in fact, fixing this agenda as a working one. Also, we will have to agree upon a specific strategy in a new situation; outline ways to achieving our goals.
I greet you again, and I am confident that as a result of today’s discussions, we will be able to add momentum to those programs that are being implemented at this point of time, as well as to formulate the upcoming projects.
Arayik Harutyunyan: Dear Mr. Prime Minister, first of all I would like to thank you for the audience. I would also like to wish you every success in the context of the vote of confidence you received from the people in the latest elections.
I am confident that the programs we discussed will lead to Artsakh’s social and economic development. We need to rally all Armenians around Artsakh. Of course, Armenians have supported Artsakh for many decades, but today we need unity more than ever and we will achieve it.
I would like to state that the social-economic problems are being addressed successfully and the Armenian government’s social programs have unequivocally helped us get out of a state of shock. No family is ignored in Artsakh owing to the funds provided by the Government of Armenia. The funds raised through the Hayastan All-Armenian Foundation are being spent on housing construction and infrastructure development. Artsakh seems to be a large construction site.
The ongoing projects should be continued, first of all, housing construction, which is a priority. Today, the housing problem is so acute in Artsakh that even building one apartment a day will not be enough. We need to build at least 4-5 apartments a day to implement what we have planned. We want to present this program to Armenians all over the world so that every Armenian might participate in housing programs in the coming years.
In the meantime, Artsakh’s security and status is what matters most now/And fortunately, the principles underlying the status have not changed on the agenda of the OSCE Minsk Group. We must strive to keep this issue high on the agenda. All your statements, our statements that Artsakh’s path to independence is not subject to negotiation testify that we must continue our struggle.
As for security, I want to assure you that the Defense Army and the peacekeeping forces are jointly controlling the situation. The geography is difficult, but fortunately there were no major problems. The harvesting season is underway; there are no problems or impediments whatsoever; infrastructure restoration activities are going on along the line of contact.
There are many projects that we have to discuss together. Most of them imply rebuilding what we have lost, which calls for a lot of hard work. Mr. Prime Minister, I wish you all the best in completing the mission that you have assumed in such a difficult period.