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Armenian, Karabakh Leaders Meet After Spat


Nagorno-Karabakh - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Karabakh President Bako Sahakian (third from left) visit the Line of Contact with Azerbaijan, Septmeber 18, 2018.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian met with Bako Sahakian, the Nagorno-Karabakh president, in Yerevan on Thursday two weeks after accusing senior officials in Stepanakert of “meddling” in Armenia’s parliamentary race.

One of Pashinian’s close associates, Sasun Mikaelian, caused uproar when he stated during the election campaign that this spring’s protest movement that brought Pashinian to power was more important than the Armenian victory in the 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan.

Mikaelian’s remark was condemned by Armenian opposition politicians as well as some Karabakh Armenian government and military officials. Pashinian portrayed it a slip of the tongue, accusing the critics of misinterpreting what Mikaelian meant to say.

The premier also hit out at the Karabakh leadership. “Sober up and mind your business,” he said at a November 29 campaign rally. “I will certainly discuss this with you, but only after the elections.”

Sahakian’s press office said the Karabakh leader discussed with Pashinian “Armenia’s and Nagorno-Karabakh’s internal and foreign policies” as well as security issues. It did not elaborate.

The Armenian government issued no statements on the meeting.

The meeting came the day after several Armenian media outlets reported that the commander of Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army, Levon Mnatsakanian, as well as Sahakian’s two national security aides will be relieved of their duties. The reports linked the impending sackings to the unprecedented spat between Yerevan and Stepanakert.

The Karabakh leadership did not confirm or refute those reports on Thursday.“If there are such personnel changes, we will announce them,” Sahakian’s spokesman, Davit Babayan, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

“I have no such official information,” the Karabakh army spokesman, Senor Hasratian, said, for his part.

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