By Astghik Bedevian
STEPANAKERT (Azatutyun.am) — Ending months of speculation, Arayik Harutyunyan, Nagorno-Karabakh’s president, announced on Thursday, August 31 his decision to resign amid a deepening humanitarian crisis in Karabakh caused by Azerbaijan’s eight-month blockade of the Lachin corridor.
In a written statement, Harutyunyan said the Armenian-populated region needs a new leadership in order to better cope with grave challenges facing it almost three years after the disastrous war with Azerbaijan.
“My background and Azerbaijan’s attitude towards it are artificially creating a number of conditions generating significant problems with regard to our further steps and flexible policy,” he said. “Besides, the defeat in the war and the resulting difficulties that emerged in the country reduced trust in the authorities and especially the president, which represents a very serious obstacle to further good governance.”
Harutyunyan said that he made a final decision to step down two days ago after analyzing his “contacts with all internal and external actors and the public.” He added that he will formally submit his resignation to the Karabakh parliament on Friday.
Harutyunyan has periodically fueled speculation about his impending resignation since Azerbaijan blocked last December traffic through the sole road connecting Karabakh to Armenia. In March, he helped to enact a constitutional amendment that empowered the local parliament to elect an interim president in case of his resignation. The latter would serve for the rest of Harutyunyan’s five-year term in office which was due to expire in May 2025.