STEPANAKERT — Artsakh has celebrated the 23rd anniversary of declaration of independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

President Serzh Sarkisian joined Karabakh’s leaders and hundreds of ordinary residents in marching through Stepanakert on the occasion. The government-organized procession ended with a wreath-laying ceremony at a memorial to thousands of Karabakh Armenians killed during the successful 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan.

President Sarkisian described Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence from Azerbaijan as “irreversible” in a written address to the Artsakh’s population issued earlier ion Tuesday.

“The historic choice of the people of Artsakh is an irreversible reality now,” Sarkisian said in a written address to the territory’s population issued earlier in the day.

“You managed to found and build up statehood through the support of the entire nation and, first of all, owing to your inflexible will, your superhuman efforts and enormous sacrifices. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic stands proudly in the lineup of those nations that boast better organization of public institutions and a powerful army,” added the Karabakh-born president.

Nagorno-Karabakh Republic formally declared itself an independent state in December 1991 following a referendum held amid intensifying clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces. The authorities in both Yerevan and Stepanakert have since ruled out any settlement that would place Karabakh back under Azerbaijani control. The Karabakh Armenians have also been reluctant to withdraw from seven districts in Azerbaijan proper that were fully or partly occupied by them during the war.

 

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