Ex-Prez Kocharyan meets with Karabakh leader, discusses escalation

Robert Kocharyan, a former president of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, on Wednesday held a meeting with current Karabakh leader Bako Sahakyan to discuss the latest escalation in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict zone.

Sahakyan’s press office released a terse report with information on the meeting without specifically mentioning its venue, though presumably it took place in capital Stepanakert.

Kocharyan, who led Karabakh in 1997-1998 before serving two five-year terms as president of Armenia, and Sahakyan reportedly discussed “a range of issues relating to the large-scale combat operations launched by the enemy along the Karabakh-Azerbaijani borderline from 2 to 5 April and their consequences.”

“President Sahakyan underlined that the trinity of Armenia, Artsakh (an alternative name for Karabakh) and Diaspora constituted the basis of victories, stressing the importance of a consolidated stance demonstrated by political forces and effective measures undertaken by them to support Artsakh,” the Karabakh leader’s press office said.

No images of the Kocharyan-Sahakyan meeting were published immediately. The office of Kocharyan also did not immediately issue any statements on the meeting. Earlier, the former president was reportedly in touch with Sahakyan on the phone, praising the Karabakh leadership’s response to Azerbaijan’s military aggression.

On May 3, Kocharyan’s predecessor Levon Ter-Petrosyan also met with Sahakyan in Stepanakert after which he praised the response of the leaderships in Karabakh and Armenia to the escalation in early April. Unlike Ter-Petrosyan, Kocharyan pointedly avoided contacts with current Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, fueling more speculation about his contemplating a political comeback in time for next year’s parliamentary elections.

Some political observers also link Kocharyan to the recent establishment of a new opposition party, Unity, led by Vartan Oskanian, who served as Armenia’s foreign minister throughout Kocharyan’s 10-year presidency. Oskanian, however, insisted that Kocharyan did not have anything to do with the foundation of the political party, though, at the same time, he did not deny he had a close rapport with the former leader.