YEREVAN — “It is important for us that Artsakh (Karabakh) be independent, that the people of Artsakh be able to hold a referendum and decide their fate by themselves. This must be the most important thing in those negotiations,” Armenia’s PM Hovik Abrahamian told reporters after inspecting Armenian army positions on the border with Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave.

Abrahamian said Yerevan still hopes that the negotiation process will eventually yield an agreement. “I think that we need to continue these diplomatic contacts, try to convince [Azerbaijan,] try to have a peaceful situation as a result of discussions,” he said.

The PM familiarized himself with the social conditions of the soldiers in the frontline military base, talked on the issues of interest to the soldiers and dined with them. Abrahamian congratulated the soldiers of the Armenian army on the coming holidays, thanking them for their selfless service.

The PM also attached importance to the communication with soldiers on the eve of the holidays: “We have to be by our border guards, who ensure the safety of our country. I wish peace in all the parts of our country. Let 2016 be peaceful for our people. I’m sure we can do our best to develop the economy and improve people’s life.”

Abrahamian at the same time warned Baku against attempts, to settle the conflict through violations of ceasefire and heightening tensions on the frontlines. “We have an efficient army and are ready to give a relevant response to any encroachment. War will not result in anything good for the people and the sooner the adversary realizes this, the better it will be for them. Our army is efficient, ready to defend our border, homeland, Artaskh and people,” he said.

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