Artsakh President Samvel Shahramanyan convened a meeting on February 6, 2024, with representatives from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau, including Hagop Der Khatchadourian, along with Artur Mosiyan from the Central Committee of the ARF Artsakh. A range of critical topics were addressed, including the importance of maintaining the state structures of Artsakh, facilitating the return of Armenians to Artsakh and ensuring the protection of their rights. The socio-economic and legal challenges facing Artsakh refugees in Armenia were also discussed, along with the provision of humanitarian assistance to alleviate hardships.
The Committee on Protection of Fundamental Rights of the Artsakh People issued a statement on February 2, following its formation in January. The committee unveiled its preliminary lineup, which includes notable individuals such as Vardan Oskanyan, former RA Minister of Foreign Affairs (1998-2008); Gegham Stepanyan, human rights defender of Artsakh; Mario Nalbandian, a member of the Central Council of Armenian National Committee in Argentina; Kaspar Karampetian, President of the Armenian National Committee of Europe; and Karnig Kerkonian, an international lawyer based in the United States. The committee pledged to engage in multifaceted advocacy efforts on international platforms to represent Artsakh’s interests before state and political bodies. It emphasized the rights of forcibly displaced individuals to return to their homeland and called for support from Armenian authorities and political forces.
Seven candidates, including incumbent President Ilham Aliyev, are participating in the presidential elections in Azerbaijan today. Originally slated for 2025, these elections were rescheduled to February 7, 2024, following a decree signed by President Aliyev on December 7, 2023. The president of Azerbaijan is elected for a seven-year term. For the first time, the Azerbaijani electoral process extends to the occupied Republic of Artsakh. President Aliyev, along with his wife and family members, cast their votes in Stepanakert, specifically at “polling station No. 14 of polling station No. 122.”
Special forces units in Azerbaijan recently conducted tactical exercises focused on “conducting combat operations in severe cold conditions,” as announced by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense. The exercises involved special forces personnel maneuvering through mountainous terrain in harsh weather conditions. Key objectives included analyzing the terrain layout, executing tactical redeployments, and simulating combat scenarios. Tasks such as breaking through enemy defenses, seizing strategic locations, providing initial medical assistance and safely evacuating wounded personnel from the battlefield were executed during the exercises, according to the Defense Ministry.
Iran’s Ambassador to Armenia Mehdi Sobhani emphasized the crucial role of power balance in maintaining regional peace during a February 6 interview. He expressed Iran’s support for Armenia’s security and readiness to provide assistance for stability in the region. Ambassador Sobhani questioned the rationale behind Azerbaijan’s threats towards Armenia, suggesting that strength acts as a deterrent against aggression. He also highlighted the strategic significance of Iran’s relations with Armenia, emphasizing mutual interests in enhancing regional security.