International recognition of Artsakh becoming an absolute priority – Armenian PM

Armenia and the Armenian people are living extremely difficult days. There is sorrow in the hearts of all of us, tears in the eyes of all of us, pain in the souls of all of us, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in an address to the nation.

“The end of the war waged on September 27 with the signing of a document like the joint statement of the Prime Minister of Armenia, the Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan on November 10, in fact caused public despair and many questions, the answer to which I am expected to answer first,” he said.

Speaking about the reason of signing it, the Prime Minister said “ it happened in the conditions when the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia was reporting that the war was to be stopped as soon as possible, and the Artsakh President was alarming that if the hostilities did not stop, we could lose Stepanakert within days, and  even hours.”

“Many, of course, will say that if we had already lost Hadrut, Shushi, we could have lost Stepanakert and not much would change. The reality, however, is somewhat different, because if Stepanakert was lost, which, as Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan had already publicly confirmed in his public speech, was largely defenseless, then Askeran and Martakert would inevitably be lost, and very predictably, because at that time the war started these cities were the rear, quite far from the front line and did not have defensive structures and fortifications, and there were not enough fighting forces that could realistically organize the defense of the cities,” the Prime Minister added.

He noted that the fall of those cities would result in a situation, when the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh defensive zones of the Defense Army would be under siege, which means 20 thousand of our soldiers and officers would inevitably face the prospect of being killed or taken prisoner.

“Many will now ask why I didn’t choose to resign rather than sign that paper. Because it would mean desertion, it would mean leaving the responsibility of carrying out a hellish mission for the sake of a soldier on someone else’s shoulders, hoping that later they would say that Prime Minister Pashinyan was so patriotic that he did not sign that humiliating document. Also because, as I said, decisions had to be made within hours, otherwise the wheel could spin, which could no longer be stopped in any way,” the Prime Minister stated.

As to why he did not consult with the people before signing the document, PM Pashinyan said: “For a very simple reason. When talking to the people, I had to present the objective situation to the public honestly, which means giving detailed information about the situation to the enemy, moreover, presenting a detailed plan to block our 25,000 soldiers within hours, with all the ensuing consequences.”

“Besides, I have promised to discuss with the people the options for the settlement of the Karabakh issue, while this document does not envisage a substantive solution to the issue, only a cessation of hostilities. The Karabakh issue was and remains unsolved, and in this regard, there is still work to be done,” he added.

As for the content of the document, he said, it’s truly bad for us, but urged not to present it even worser. “In particular, there are rumors about handing over Meghri, which is absolute nonsense. It is only a matter of unblocking the region’s transport routes, including from Azerbaijan to Nakhijevan, but this means that the transport routes from Yerevan to Nakhijevan through Syunik, including Armenia’s railway connection with the Islamic Republic of Iran, should be unblocked, which could be of great significance for the further development of our country’s economy.”

PM Pashinyan said the issue of the final settlement of the Karabakh issue and the status of Artsakh is of fundamental importance.

“In this regard, our tasks do not change, and the international recognition of the Artsakh Republic is becoming an absolute priority, and, in fact, there are more weighty arguments for the international recognition of Artsakh,” the Prime Minister said.

He called on compatriots not to give in to provocations and to unite around a government that is determined to bear its full responsibility for bringing the country to this situation, while guaranteeing that no one will seize power to plunder and return the country to its whirlpool of corruption.

“We are reaping the bitter fruits of that robbery and corruption today, when for decades the country’s wealth and income have flowed into the pockets of well-known individuals instead of the development of the army,” Nikol Pashinyan concluded.

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