STEPANAKERT (Combined Sources)–Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR) celebrated the 1992 liberation of Shushi on May 9–also the Russian holiday Victory Day–which observes the end of World War II.
In a statement–President Kocharian celebrated the "day of victory and peace," saying that the day has taken on new meaning since the liberation of Shushi.
"The day symbolizes the adamant will of the people to protect their rights–guarantee their security–and freedom to develop."
Kocharian said that the days also correspond to the 10th anniversary of a ceasefire in Karabagh. "The fruits of this peaceful decade are unmistakable," he said–pledging his resolve to settle the conflict peacefully.
MKR President Arkady Ghukasian said that the Shushi operation literally saved the people of Artsakh from physical elimination–by opening the "road to life" and to Armenia.
Talking about Shushi’s Liberation and Victory Day–Ghukasian pointed to the strength of successive generations.
"The current generation continues with the glorious military traditions of their grandfathers and fathers who demonstrated courage and fearlessness on the battlefield of the World War II. The current generation defended the freedom and independence of Mountainous Karabagh even when the enemy outnumbered physically–and outweighed with their military hardware."
He stressed that while MKR’s defense forces remain the most reliable guarantor of security–vigilance must be maintained at a time when Azerbaijan tries to reverse history–cherishing hopes for a forcible settlement of the Karabagh problem. "We should maintain the rate of military construction–equip our army with up-to-date weapons–and seek to improve fighting skills."
Ghukasian emphasized–however–that Karabagh’s army is one of peace–with the fundamental goal of defending MKR and its people against external aggression.
"Be confident; our army is ready at any moment to repulse the enemy if it dares to breach our peaceful life and infringe on our independence," he added.
"May the memory of those who were killed for Artsakh’s happy future–live forever. The duty of those living is not to allow the blood shed by them be in vain. Long live our military veterans!" Ghukasian said.
Recollecting that a cease-fire agreement was signed 10 year ago–Ghukasian said that Azerbaijan was forced to recognize Mountainous Karabagh as a party to the conflict and sign the truce–exclusively because of the successes of the Karabagh army.
"Precisely for this reason–our army is also one of the effective guarantors of maintaining a peaceful settlement with Azerbaijan. I would like to assure you that–as before–MKR’s leadership is committed to a peaceful settlement of the Karabagh conflict. There is no alternative."