A New Rift Among the

A New Rift Among the "Elite"

Armenian PM's controversial statements about Nagorno-Karabakh and reactions both in Armenia and NKR.

Text: Zareh-Sevag Sarkissian

 

A new rift has emerged among the elite of Yerevan and Artsakh following Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's latest live Q&A session on December 24th with representatives of the media and non-governmental organisations. 
During the press conference, the Prime Minister was asked what steps the Armenian government is taking to turn the issue of the territorial integrity of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) into part of the negotiations, and if so, would the demand for the de-occupation of Shushi and Hadrut take place.

"The Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region has never been considered in the negotiation process as a purely and only Armenian union. The negotiation principles state that Azerbaijanis also lived in the NKAO, and the protection of their rights was on the topic of negotiations," Pashinyan said. Pashinyan further noted that throughout the entire negotiation process, no government or negotiator has ever challenged the rights of Azerbaijanis living in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh).

The PM's answer was met with outrage among Artsakh's political echelon. A single yet long and elaborate statement was adopted by all factions of the National Assembly of Artsakh, it was titled "On the danger and challenges that threaten the sovereignty and subjectivity of the Republic of Artsakh." It was as follows:

“We consider inadmissible any statement by different political forces and figures that questions or diminishes the subjectivity of Artsakh and its Armenian future. It is confusing that the last such statement was made by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia (RA) while answering the questions of the representatives of media and non-governmental-organizations, on December 24.

The negotiation process of previous years, the legal and political framework of the Armenian parties, in the context of protecting our national interests, did not contradict the positions presented by international structures and mediators.

The fate of Artsakh has never been and it will not be the monopoly of any political force. We express our disagreement and frustration on a number of harmful, distorted formulations and ideas voiced during the interview.

The Republic of Artsakh National Assembly, reaffirming the determination of the people and authorities of Artsakh on the sovereignty and independence of the Artsakh Republic, declares unacceptable expressing a position without taking into account the point of view of the Artsakh authorities, as only the legitimate authorities formed by the citizens of the Artsakh Republic through elections have the right to make decisions on the future of Artsakh.”

The National Assembly continued its statement by expressing gratitude to all Armenians, particularly its compatriots in Armenia, for standing by Artsakh and sharing its sufferings and deprivations.

In the post-war period, the fraternal relations between the two neighbouring Armenian republics have been based on the decision adopted by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Armenia on July 8, 1992, which clearly defined the attitude of the Republic of Armenia, a full and recognised member of the international community, towards the Artsakh Republic that is itself striving for international recognition. A duty accompanies such a decision, and that duty is that the Republic of Armenian undertakes to "consistently support the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR) and the protection of the rights of its population." It is also outlined to "consider any international or domestic document, where the Nagorno Karabakh Republic is mentioned as part of Azerbaijan, unacceptable for the Republic of Armenia".

Former President of Armenia, Robert Kocharyan, likewise had a press conference several days after the Prime Minister's during which he cynically commented on the situation stating that Armenia seems to have washed its hand of Artsakh, and that the RA leader questioned the NKR declaration of independence, on which the NKR or Republic of Artsakh was founded on. Kocharyan further commented that the first person of Armenia i.e., the PM, does not see any status of Artsakh beyond the reaches of Azerbaijan, leaving its future as an Armenian entity extremely bleak.

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