In the foreign and domestic political life of the Republic of Artsakh in 2017, the dynamics of statehood can be viewed as stable. Let's talk about significant events that have happened in the passing year.
At the beginning of the year, the four-day jubilee of the Supreme Council of the NKR was approved at the political level to approve the decision to declare independence. In 1992, On January 8, the first session of the newly formed NKR Supreme Council took place, where unanimously approved the Declaration of Independence. A few weeks before, on December 10, 1991, a referendum was held, during which the Armenians of Artsakh unanimously voted for the proclamation of Nagorno Karabakh as an independent republic. And before that, on September 2, the declaration was adopted at the joint session of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Region and the Shahumyan Regional Councils of People's Deputies.
In 2017, the constitutional referendum was held on February 20. The first NKR Constitution was adopted in 2006, December 10. 90077 citizens participated in the referendum, 77279 voted for the country's primary law or 98.58% of the vote. And the renewed constitution was adopted more than a decade later. Of the 1,03818 citizens who participated in the February 20 referendum, 69570 voted for or 87.6% of the vote.
The necessity of constitutional amendments was conditioned by a change in the management system. Under the new constitution, the president of the Republic simultaneously is the head of the government, who performs the functions of the prime minister. The amended constitution enabled the incumbent president to be elected President of the National Assembly by Article 168 of the Basic Law of the country. The assumption of the office took place in a solemn ceremony on September 7.
Observers from many countries around the world arrived in Artsakh during the constitutional referendum. Then, other official and non-official visits happened. The Federal Delegation and Brussels Delegates of the Belgian Parliament, MP Rubina Berardo, Parliamentary Delegation of Canada, the Chamber of Deputies of Mexico-Armenia Friendship Group, representatives from Europe and the whole World were present at this memorable historic event.
On May 9, Artsakh was celebrating once again. The Victory Day was marked by the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Shushi and the creation of the Artsakh Defense Army. The liberation of the ancient Armenian fortress was crucial during the Karabakh war because the inspired Armenian freedom fighters were able to beat Artsakh in the battlefields and defeat the Azerbaijanis. At present, the defense army is not only a reliable guarantor of the security of the Republic of Azerbaijan but also one of the most efficient troops in the region.
The visit of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs to the region, including Stepanakert, was remarkable. The Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz accepted the position of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, pointing out three main tasks to be pursued in 2017. One of them referred to the protracted conflicts, in particular, the Karabakh issue, which he promised to look into. On June 12, OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Igor Popov (Russia), Stefan Visconti (France), Richard Hoagland (USA) and Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk visited Stepanakert where President Bako Sahakyan received them. According to official sources, issues related to the settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict and the situation on the borders of Artsakh and Azerbaijan were discussed at the meeting.
In 2017 their initiatives to recognize the Artsakh Republic state were rigorously held. In particular, on September 28, the Senate of the US State of Michigan adopted a resolution recognizing the independence of Artsakh with the overwhelming majority of votes. Also, the Australian Green Party decided to include the recognition of the Artsakh people's right to self-determination in its political program and called on the Federal Government to officially recognize the independence of the Republic of Artsakh and strengthen its relations with that young state.
In the context of the country's recognition, it was indeed important that the President held working meetings with the representatives of different European parliaments, prominent public, and political figures. With some countries, such as France, Belgium, Lithuania and their legislative bodies, Artsakh has already affirmed institutional ties, during the year, useful links have been established in that direction.
It is also worth mentioning the interview of Foreign Minister Masis Mayilyan, "Shargh" daily published in the Islamic Republic of Iran and other periodicals, where the Minister of Artsakh touched upon Iran's balanced position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Although expressed at the level of publications, such interest is a delicate message in the search for a solution to the Azerbaijani-Karabakh strife.
The coming year will be a great jubilee for the people of Artsakh. February 20 will mark the 30th anniversary of the Artsakh movement. This jubilee is symbolic because the Movement united all Armenians, bringing real victories to the Armenian nation. Further wins will also be gained by national unity. It's clear that the year 2018, especially in the context of the 100th anniversary of the May Battles, will be productive and meaningful for the two Armenian republics.
Believe and wait!