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Kocharian Meets Karabakh Leader


Nagorno-Karabakh - Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (R) and former President Robert Kocharian (L) watch a military parade in Stepanakert, 9May2012.

Nagorno-Karabakh - Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (R) and former President Robert Kocharian (L) watch a military parade in Stepanakert, 9May2012.

Former President Robert Kocharian visited Nagorno-Karabakh on Wednesday to discuss with the unrecognized republic’s leadership the fallout from the recent escalation of the conflict with Azerbaijan.

Kocharian met with Karabakh President Bako Sahakian more than a month after the outbreak of the worst fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops along the Karabakh “line of contact” since 1994. Sahakian’s press office said they discussed the four-day hostilities and their “consequences.”

“President Sahakian stressed that the triple unity of Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora is the basis of our victories, attaching importance to the consolidation of political forces and their practical efforts to support Artsakh (Karabakh),” the office said in a statement. It gave no other details.

Kocharian, who governed Karabakh during the 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan, did not immediately issue any statements on the meeting through his press secretary or otherwise.

Kocharian reportedly phoned Sahakian and praised the Karabakh Armenian leadership’s response to a military offensive launched by Azerbaijan shortly after the escalation. But he pointedly avoided any contact with Serzh Sarkisian, his erstwhile ally who replaced him as Armenia’s president in 2008.

Kocharian made clear later in April that unlike the other Armenian ex-president, Levon Ter-Petrosian, he has no intention to meet with his successor. He said he can only urge the Sarkisian administration to take urgent steps to strengthen the Armenian military.

Kocharian has increasingly criticized Sarkisian’s policies and track record in recent years, fueling speculation about his impending return to active politics.

Late last month, former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and several other political figures widely regarded as Kocharian supporters announced the creation of a new party that will challenge the current Armenian leadership. Oskanian insisted that the party has “no connection whatsoever” with the Karabakh-born ex-president.

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