STEPANAKERT (Noyan Tapan) – Nagorno-Karabakh President–Robert Kocharian–in a televised address–Thursday–informed the people of the republic of his decision–which came after consultations with the National Security Council and the National Assembly–to accept President Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s offer to become the new prime minister of Armenia. A news conference held earlier during the day was also devoted to the developmen’s.
Kocharian told journalists that he saw himself going through this difficult decision making process twice. The first time–according to the new minister-appointee–was when he placed himself at the head of the Karabakh State Defense Committee and gave himself the task of leading the country out of the extremely heavy plight it was in at the time. Kocharian said–the economic and social situation in which Armenia is at the moment–warrant him to take the same approach–in order to bring the country out of its burdened state.
Kocharian emphasized that Karabakh’s progress will not be feasible without the successful development of Armenia. The Karabakh question is not being solved so much in Karabakh–he said–as in the economic rivalry between Armenia and Azerbaijan. He is convinced that this is why the improvement of Armenia’s political–social and economic situation will also have a positive effect on Karabakh’s statehood.
Expressing hope that the people of Karabakh realized the necessity for his move–Kocharian also stressed that he would not abandon the issue of defense for Karabakh while in Armenia. He reiterated that the task at hand remains to be the domestic stabilization of the republic–and the continued implementation of the policies of the current government.
Asked by journalists what effect his new appointment will have on the Karabakh negotiations–Kocharian said that he would do his best to shift the negotiations to become bilateral talks between the conflicting sides.
"I consider my appointment as Armenia’s prime minister as the continuation of the settlement of the Karabakh problem," Kocharian asserted.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Prime Minister Leonard Petrossian temporarily assumed the presidency of the republic following the appointment Thursday of Robert Kocharian to Armenia’s premiership.
According to Nagorno-Karabakh law on presidential elections–new polls must be conducted three months after the president leaves office.