On 15 September Artsakh Republic President Arayik Harutyunyan chaired the inaugural meeting of the Security Council.
A number of important security issues relating to the vital functions of the Republic of Artsakh were on the agenda.
Before proceeding to the discussion of the issues on the agenda, President Arayik Harutyunyan delivered a speech.
In his speech, the President noted that the main mission of the Republic's authorities in the field of security is to guarantee, in a narrow sense, the security of the population of the Republic of Artsakh, and in a broad sense, the security of the Armenian people.
In this context, the Head of the State outlined the priority directions of the policy to be implemented in this area, including military security, sustainable economic development and self-sufficiency, reinstatement of a stable and efficient political system, and information security.
Touching upon the issue of efficient fulfillment of the outlined objectives, the President highlighted the need for proper implementation of their functions by all state institutions aimed at ensuring the security of the Motherland.
"As head of state and guarantor of the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Artsakh, I comply fully with the mandate entrusted to me, and the same should hold good for all the entities and public officials," the President underlined.
Below is the transcript of President Arayik Harutyunyan's remarks:
"Respected members of the Security Council,
As you know, this is the inaugural meeting of the Security Council since I assumed office as President of the Republic of Artsakh.
Prior to this, we held a joint meeting of the Security Councils of Armenia and Artsakh.
A range of crucial security-related issues on the vital functions of the Republic of Artsakh are on the agenda of today's meeting.
Before we proceed to the discussion of issues on the agenda, I would like to make a note of some important points:
First of all, it should be noted that our main mission in the field of security, I repeat, mission, and not merely a goal, is to ensure an adequate level of security of the population of the Republic of Artsakh in the narrow sense and the Armenian people in the broad sense. In other words, Artsakh plays an important role and is responsible for ensuring the security of the Armenian people.
We can carry out this mission adequately through our consistent efforts, hard work and prudent policy aimed at building sustainably the strategic resilience of our shared Homeland.
This can be attained, through concerted efforts of Mother Armenia and the Armenians all over the world, at four levels - globally, at a regional level, domestically, meaning Armenia and Artsakh, and in four priority directions - the military track, economic, political dimension and information security.
It should be borne in mind, once and for all, that all these levels and directions are interrelated, each in accordance to its strategic value.
Let us go through each level and direction in turn.
Firstly, our mission at a global level is both to hedge against and avert the global challenges and ensure a favourable environment for global guarantees of our security in all directions. Of course, our role in global events is small, but it would be wrong not to recognize our modest contribution to global security as one of the key guarantors of stability and peace in the region.
Secondly, at regional level, we face the main and imminent threat to our security posed by Azerbaijan through its extremely aggressive and Armenophobic policy. It is noteworthy that this actual threat in the face of Azerbaijan is conspicuous in all directions, thus turning into tangible and extended existential threat to the people of Artsakh. Therefore, our top priority is to gear our sustained efforts - military, economic, political, information and the list is long - towards addressing those threats.
Certainly, a range of other regional threats considerably affect the security environment and strategic resilience of Artsakh, sometimes having an incentive, catalytic effect on the manifestation of Azerbaijani threats and their intensity.
Thirdly, the Armenian level implies that Artsakh is an inseparable part of the Armenian world and part of single security architecture with Mother Armenia, thus, the security system of the Republic of Artsakh echoes all kinds of developments in and around the Republic of Armenia, and the other way round.
And the fourth, at the domestic level, meaning Artsakh, the size of our responsibilities and capabilities is dramatically increasing, and the security areas are expanding. Since working on the first three levels should ultimately serve to solve problems at the internal level, it is worth focusing a little on what to do in different directions at this level.
The major thrust on the military track, quite naturally, aims at ensuring security. Here, we should be guided by the principle of "All and everything should be provided for the army by priority, and the army should serve all." We should make consistent efforts towards both further build-up and upgrading of weapons, improved governance, strengthening military infrastructures, providing social guarantees for the servicemen and in all other directions. Adding up to our ever-growing accomplishments in other main spheres, we must strengthen our institutional approach to capacity building of our auxiliary voluntary armed forces, the nationwide militia, and development of local arms industry. With this regard, we have yielded tangible results; however, there is room to achieve more.
In the economic dimension, our primary task is to ensure sustainable development and attain the threshold of self-sufficiency. No doubt, economic development and raising significantly the standard of well-being of the population will reflect positively on the security system.
One of the main objectives is to ensure self-sufficiency or at least high level of flexibility and discretion in terms of strategic goods. We have made strides with this regard; however, there is a long road ahead.
In the political realm, our primary objective is the accomplishment of a solid and effective political system where all the state entities will efficiently carry out their functions on the basis of constitutional order. All the state entities are obliged to serve the cornerstone purpose of ensuring the security of the Homeland.
As head of state and as the guarantor of the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Artsakh, I comply fully with the mandate entrusted to me, and the same should hold good for all the entities and public officials.
Of course, the Defense Army, as the main guarantor of the physical security of the population of the Republic of Artsakh, is the key player among the entities in the security system, while the Security Council functioning adjacent to the President of the Republic of Artsakh, as a consultative body, aims at contributing to exercising the power vested upon the President in the national security sphere.
The information security realm, perhaps, implies fewer constraints and should serve all directions with a view towards ensuring an enabling information-psychological environment both for the domestic and external audience.
The challenges in these directions have grown steadily in the recent years, attributable to the widely accessible Internet and increased vulnerability of the population. We should therefore focus consistently on the information security.
No doubt, especially at the domestic level, meaning Artsakh, security does not hinge upon those four directions solely, but depends, to wide extent, on demography, education, healthcare and the list is long, which, in tandem, form unform security architecture.
Therefore, to ensure lasting and comprehensive security for the population of the Republic of Artsakh, we should act properly and coherently in all the directions.
Touching upon the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict, which provides for and determines the main security threats mentioned above, I would like to note that the Republic of Artsakh is committed to the peaceful settlement of the conflict.
Nevertheless, we have clear-cut principles that underlie our policy in the settlement of Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict.
I have had the opportunity to outline those benchmark principles well before assuming the office of the President of the Republic of Artsakh.
I would like to take time to reiterate those principles with some additional clarifications:
1. The legitimate, full-fledged participation of the authorities of the Republic of Artsakh at all the stages of the process towards the peaceful and final settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict is an imperative.
2. The sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Artsakh cannot be jeopardized and are not subject to bargaining under any circumstances.
3. Any option of the settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict which does not provide for the primary recognition of the Artsakh people's right to self-determination cannot be subject of substantial discussion between the parties to conflict.
4. Clear-cut guarantees must be provided to exclude attempts to resort to threat or use of force during settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict, as the Armenian and Azerbaijani people deserve to live in peace. Failing this, in response to Azerbaijani offensive action, the Republic of Artsakh reserves the right to carry out disproportionate counter-offensive measures, up to taking military actions to the territory of Azerbaijan.
5. No option of the settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict can include unilateral concessions or disproportionate and inadequate compromise on behalf of the Republic of Artsakh.
6. In the process of the the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict settlement and in associated processes, the Armenian refugees & internally displaced people (IDPs) must be involved on an equal footing with the Azerbaijani refugees & internally displaced people (IDPs), the problems facing them must be addressed on an equal basis and simultaneously.
7. The international community, primarily the OSCE & the Minsk Group Co-Chairs, must exclude violations of and restrictions to the human rights of the population of Artsakh resulting from the conflict and international status of the Republic of Artsakh, including factual exclusion from international humanitarian programs and no access to programs promoting human rights. These restrictions which are pursued by Azerbaijan as a means of pressure are against the well-known principles of international law.
The Security Council aims at discussing the afore-mentioned and other issues and ideas that are of significance to our country, designing and developing approaches, as well as making proposals to the Republic of Artsakh President.
I acknowledge the role and functions of this consultative body and its format in terms of elaborating on the approaches and distribution of labour.
I expect and count on your responsiveness and diligent work to meet our objectives, for the good of the Artsakh people and the secure and peaceful life of the Armenian people in general.
Let us now lead on to the discussion of the issues on the agenda."