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Row Between Armenian, Karabakh Leaders ‘Settled’


Nagorno-Karabakh -- Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian (C), Karabakh President Bako Sahakian (R) and Archbishop Pargev Martirosian leave a newly built church in Stepanakert, May 9, 2019.

The leaders of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh have normalized their relations following a recent public spat, a senior official in Yerevan insisted on Friday.

“The relationship between Yerevan and Stepanakert is in a very good state at the moment,” said Armen Grigorian, the secretary of Armenia’s Security Council. “There were some problems but those problems are now a thing of the past.”

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian charged in May that unnamed “forces representing the former corrupt system” are intent on provoking a war with Azerbaijan, losing “some territories” and blaming that defeat on Armenia’s current government. He effectively pointed the finger at Karabakh’s leadership.

In early June, Pashinian accused the authorities in Stepanakert of spreading false claims about significant territorial concessions to Azerbaijan planned by his government. Bako Sahakian, the Karabakh president, was quick to deny that.

The secretary of Sahakian’s national security council, Vitaly Balasanian, was relieved of his duties a few days later. Balasanian had publicly scoffed at Pashinian’s confidence-building understandings reached with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev late last year. The remarks sparked a war of words between Balasanian and Pashinian’s press secretary, Vladimir Karapetian.

The Armenian premier was also irked by a written petition by Sahakian and his predecessor Arkadi Ghukasian which facilitated the release from prison on May 18 of Robert Kocharian, Armenia’s Karabakh-born former president facing coup and corruption charges. Kocharian was arrested again on June 25.

Grigorian, who visited Stepanakert last week, declined to comment on the “problems” between Yerevan and Stepanakert. “The problems have been talked about in public and discussed during meetings,” he told reporters.

Grigorian also would not be drawn on the “treasonous” conspiracy alleged by Pashinian. “Security bodies are dealing with that,” he said vaguely.

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