STEPANAKERT — Nagorno Karabakh President Arayik Harutyunyan issued a decree Thursday dismissing State Minister Ruben Vardanyan from his post.

During a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Head of the State presented the military, political and socio-economic situation developed in the republic as a result of the blockade of Artsakh by Azerbaijan, as well as the measures taken by the authorities aimed at the solution of the emerging issues.

President Harutyunyan also publicized the decree on the dismissal of Ruben Vardanyan from the position of State Minister. He highly appreciated Vardanyan’s efforts both in raising international awareness of Artsakh and solving numerous domestic problems during the blockade.

Referring to Azerbaijan’s ongoing blockade of Karabakh, Harutyunyan cited the fact that “the situation then (when Vardanyan was appointed) and now differ greatly, both externally and internally” as justification for his decision.

“Ruben Vardanyan and I have been together during this whole time, following the events and developments happening both in Artsakh and in the outer world on a daily basis, we have constantly exchanged ideas about finding solutions to the current situation. I am grateful to Mr. Vardanyan for his eagerness to always share the responsibility with me to the maximum extent in both friendly and partnership relations and did not try to put it on me referring to the constitutional norms. But on the other hand, he approached with awareness and understanding to the scope and extent of my personal responsibility for the situation created in Artsakh and all future problems,” the Head of the State highlighted.

Arayik Harutyunyan noted that he proposed Prosecutor General Gurgen Nersisyan to assume the responsibilities of the State Minister, taking into account his professional and human qualities, professionalism, fairness, principled stance and statehood-orientedness.

In mid December, just weeks after Vardanyan took office, Azerbaijan began blocking the only road connecting Karabakh with Armenia, causing a major humanitarian crisis. The blockade is now in its third month, with Karabakh residents facing widespread shortages of food, medicine, and energy.

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