The ceremonies were attended instead by separate delegations of the three political groups represented in the National Assembly. The ruling Civil Contract party’s delegation consisted of only two parliamentarians.
“We are in Stepanakert as members of Armenia’s National Assembly,” said one of those lawmakers, Rustam Bakoyan. “This was the decision made by the [ruling party’s] parliamentary group.”
Bakoyan would not say why the parliament’s leadership, also affiliated with Civil Contract, did not send an official delegation to Stepanakert as did last year. The parliament’s press office and leaders of its pro-government majority could not be reached for comment.
In a written statement, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian congratulated the Karabakh Armenians on the anniversary of the proclamation of their republic not recognized by any country. Pashinian reiterated the official Armenian line that the Karabakh conflict will remain unresolved until the issues of the disputed territory’s status and security are “addressed irrevocably.”
Statements to the contrary are “inappropriate,” he said, alluding to Azerbaijani leaders’ regular claims that Azerbaijan essentially ended the conflict with its victory in the 2020 war with Armenia.
“The Republic of Armenia will continue to support the maintenance of normal life, security and human rights protection in Nagorno-Karabakh,” added the statement.
Pashinian said nothing about the future status of Karabakh acceptable to Yerevan. His political opponents and other critics claim that he is intent on helping Baku regain full control of the Armenian-populated territory.
The Armenian premier last visited Stepanakert during the six-week war stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire in November 2020.
“Artsakh (Karabakh) must continue to move along the path of independence,” Arayik Harutiunian, the Karabakh president, said in a statement issued on the occasion.