STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL) — Nagorno-Karabakh’s leadership has openly criticized Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for making statements which his political opponents say play into Azerbaijan’s hands.
In televised remarks aired late on Friday, December 31, Pashinyan again blamed Armenia’s former leaders for last year’s war over Karabakh won by Azerbaijan. He said it was the result of their mishandling of protracted peace talks with Baku.
He reiterated his criticism of peace plans drawn up by the US, Russian and French mediators since 2016. He claimed that they envisaged the eventual restoration of Azerbaijani control over Karabakh.
Pashinyan further declared that “Artsakh (Karabakh) could not have ended up being completely Armenian. It was obvious during those negotiations that Artsakh is going to have both Armenian and Azerbaijani populations,” he said.
Opposition politicians in Armenia were quick to denounce the remarks. They claimed that Pashinyan is not only trying to dodge responsibility for the disastrous war but also preparing the ground for Karabakh’s return under Azerbaijani rule.
Ara Harutyunyan, the Karabakh president, also took issue with the remarks in rare public criticism of Pashinyan.