The daily summary for January 19 is available here.
There is a very clear formula: power belongs to the people - Pashinyan
‘There is a very clear formula: power belongs to the people and the decisions about power should be made by the people,’ Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan said during a Q&A session in the Parliament in a response to opposition ‘Prosperous Armenia’ MP’s question whether Pashinyan was going step down.
In Pashinyan’s words, he will not take any step that may deprive the people of the leverage of selecting their authorities and transform this right into a closed-door discussion.
In response to a comment that the government has exhausted itself, Pashinyan suggested deciding on the timeframe of snap elections arguing that a PM cannot be elected twice without a snap election.
Deputy PM Tigran Avinyan, in turn, suggested the opposition ‘Prosperous Armenia’ group to sign a memorandum on holding snap elections.
The extra-parliamentary coalition of a dozen parties demanding Pashinyan’s resignation, propose to create an interim government. They nominated Vazgen Manukyan as an interim Prime Minister.
Prime Minister and Foreign Minister discussed postwar issues in the Parliament
‘Publication of the famous postal stamp is unacceptable,’ said Pashinyan during a Q&A session in the Parliament speaking about a stamp issued by the Azerbaijani government depicting a person with medical gear disinfecting Armenians from Nagorno Karabakh. According to Pashinyan, the stamp is a manifestation of fascism by Azerbaijan, since a similar stamp was issued in Nazi Germany. Pashinyan noted that his government’s task is to manage the situation of post-war aftershock.
Speaking about the post-war situation, Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan criticized Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev’s controversial statements about the conflict being over while making new provocative statements. ‘This proves that the conflict has entered a new phase and it is necessary to shape a common agenda of the Armenian parties,’ the Minister said highlighting the importance of his recent official visit to Nagorno Karabakh. He said that the Armenian side is ready to restart negotiations within the format of OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship on the basic principles that were agreed upon before.
The Minister also responded to ‘My Step’ MP Narek Mkrtchyan’s comment that while Armenia is a member of the International Religious Freedom Alliance, the organisation did not make any statements about attacks and destruction of Armenian religious heritage in Nagorno Karabakh. In Ayvazyan’s words, Armenia will make pragmatic decisions based on Armenian national interest. ‘We are seriously analysing the attitude of different institutions, countries, and regions to make necessary corrections,’ FM Ayvazyan said.
According to the Foreign Minister, the safe return of the Armenian population to their homes, provision of humanitarian assistance to the people in Artsakh, and protection of Armenian religious and cultural heritage are the priority issues for Armenia.
Minister Ayvazyan also touched upon Aliyev’s statement that Shushi will become a Turkic cultural center. ‘Shushi is an Armenian cultural center,’ Ayvazyan argued expressing confidence that Armenia will receive the international community’s support on this issue.
Deputy Minister denied the reliability of regional railway map by ‘Kommersant’
Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan said during a Q&A session in the Parliament that there is no agenda in relation to the unblocking of regional transport connections as set by the recent Nagorno Karabakh truce statement.
Earlier, Russian ‘Kommersant’ published a map depicting a railway corridor passing through the Armenian southern territory and connecting Azerbaijan to its exclave Nakhijevan. Grigoryan assured that there were no discussions about a railway map neither in written nor in verbal forms. He also mentioned that while the 9th provision about unblocking regional transport communication is being presented as beneficial to both sides, it does not correspond to the reality.
According to the Deputy Minister, it will also be wrong to say that the implementation of the 9th provision of the trilateral statement will not contribute to the implementation of the 8th provision over the return of PoWs.
Other news from Armenia
- Armenian Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan writes that Armenia is being pressured by Azerbaijan, under the threat of war, to engage in the process of illegal border demarcations and delimitations using mechanical approaches, GPS, and Google Map grossly violating the socio-economic rights of the residents of Syunik and Gegharkunik provinces of Armenia. Tatoyan reports that the process of determining the state borders of Armenia takes place under the obvious threats of war and ethnic cleansing by the President of Azerbaijan against the entire population of Armenia.
‘The President of Azerbaijan, and other public figures following his example, openly insult the dignity of the Armenian people, incite hostility on the basis of ethnicity, and do it to humiliate the personal dignity of every person living in Armenia (comparing Armenians to dogs, calling Armenians evil, issuing calls to kill Armenian children, women and the elderly),’ Tatoyan added.
- ’Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif plans to visit Yerevan, Moscow, Baku, and Tbilisi next week, Armenpress news agency reports. ‘'I plan to pay a visit to Caucasus and Russia’, Zarif said, adding that he holds negotiations also with Turkey. ‘'Yesterday evening I had a productive phone conversation with Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu. I plan to visit the countries that are able to work together to help overcome the Karabakh crisis and establish peace and stability in the region’, he said.
- Edmon Marukyan, Head of the opposition ‘Bright Armenia’ Party, met with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kopirkin on Wednesday. The sides discussed the efforts made by Russia to return Armenian PoWs, as well as the possibilities of settling the issue within the format of OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship. Other issues related to the Armenian-Russian agenda were also discussed.
- Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Armenia Vahram Dumanyan met on Wednesday with the EU Delegation to Armenia, led by Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin, Armenpress news agency The Minister emphasized that as a result of the recent Nagorno Karabakh war, a significant part of the cultural heritage of Artsakh which has remained out of the Armenian control is under direct threat. Ambassador Wiktorin shared the concerns over the historical heritage of Artsakh, highly assessing the fact-finding activities of the UNESCO in that direction.