Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (photo: primeminister.am)

Excerpts of Pashinyan’s Speeches on April 13, 14

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YEREVAN — On April 13, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan delivered a general address to parliament, but his comments on Karabakh were so explosive that the next day, he delivered a second message to clarify the previous one.

Below are some excerpts from the two.

 

I initially accepted my guilt and responsibility for both the war and the defeat. But I have not accepted and I do not accept the accusations addressed to me by the opposition after November 9, 2020, accusing me of surrendering lands, and thus, also of treason. At first glance, this may seem absurd, that you admit guilt, but do not accept the accusation, and perhaps the time has come for this dilemma to be resolved.

In a recent interview, I hinted that if I was to be accused objectively, I should not be accused of surrendering lands, but of not surrendering lands. And now, yes, I want to admit that I’m probably guilty of that.

In order to talk about it with the people at the time, I first had to convince myself that it was the right way. And I confess, I could not convince myself. And why could not I? For the same reason as a number of our opposition partners are unable to come to terms with reality to date.

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I could not convince myself also because for 25 years we have been telling the Armenian society that all the deprivations we have suffered and are suffering have a great goal and that goal is the freedom of Artsakh. All the hardships we face is for the sake of having powerful army, and it is difficult to believe that an army built on so much hardships will not be able to defend our dream.

I could not convince myself, because the geopolitical centers generally thought in the same direction, in the sense that everyone unequivocally recognizes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, but they were not united in the logic of the events that would take place after the potential surrender and the contradictions that had already intensified in Syria, Libya, Georgia, Ukraine, and finally in Nagorno-Karabakh, would definitely lead to an explosion.

I could not convince myself, because when I was getting acquainted with the negotiation documents, I realized that Serzh Sargsyan did not exaggerate anything when saying that Armenia was ready to abandon the 7 regions, but each time Azerbaijan made new demands and that Azerbaijan’s expectations were unrealistic and unacceptable to us.

I could not convince myself because I realized that Robert Kocharyan was not exaggerating at all when he stated that Armenia also has a problem of territorial integrity.

Today the international community tells us again “Lower your benchmark on the status of Nagorno Karabakh a little and ensure greater international consolidation around Armenia and Artsakh”.

Otherwise, says the international community, please do not rely on us, not because we do not want to help you, but because we cannot help you.

Topics: speeches

First of all, about the agreements based on the results of the trilateral meeting held on April 6 this year in Brussels. Yes, I have agreed that the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan should begin preparations for a peace treaty. What this means in practice, what schedule, what format, still needs to be discussed and decided. But signing a peace treaty with Azerbaijan as soon as possible is part of our plans.

But I must say that we do not have illusions here either, because we do not rule out that Azerbaijan will try to bring the peace talks to a deadlock as soon as possible, making it an opportunity for new aggression and aggressive actions against Armenia and Artsakh. We have the same concern, by the way, in relation to delimitation works, because we do not rule out that Azerbaijan will use this process to formulate territorial claims against Armenia, de jure declaring that it has no territorial claims.

Understanding and calculating all the risks and challenges, we have come to the conclusion that standing at the same point and not making any progress in the process not only does not reduce but also exacerbates the risks. That is the reason why we reached an agreement on delimitation in Brussels – to set up an Armenia-Azerbaijan bilateral commission on delimitation and border security by the end of April and start working.

Our concern that Azerbaijan wants to maintain military tensions along the border parallel with the delimitation process in order to justify territorial aspirations and formulate new aspirations towards Armenia has finally been perceived by the international community, but we have already reached a dangerous point where the offer of a simultaneous withdrawal of troops could be perceived as a policy of bringing the situation to a standstill. That is why, as I said at the March 31 Cabinet meeting, we are ready to show flexibility, and we have shown that flexibility in Brussels, hoping that the international community will pay more attention to the security environment along the border.

I would like to emphasize that the delimitation agreement was not reached from scratch in Brussels, but the agreements reached in Sochi on November 26, 2021 were finalized, but all this also created a basis for the Russian Federation, the Western and the other partners, if necessary, to provide the necessary support to the delimitation of borders with their information and experience.

It should be noted that the bilateral commission on delimitation and border security, as the name implies, will have a double mandate. The first is the delimitation work, the second is the provision of security and stability along the border. This means that the commission will have some authority to monitor the border situation, as well as the opportunity to come up with a concrete proposal to increase the level of security and stability at the border. If necessary, it will be possible to involve international expert potential in this process.

I would also like to inform you that we are currently working on the format and staff of the commission and we must try to clarify the staff by April 30 at the latest. In the meantime, our relevant officials must work with the Azerbaijani side and reach a common ground on this organizational issue.

Returning to the topic of the peace treaty, I must remind you that we have repeatedly stated our readiness to start this process. On March 10, one of the OSCE MG Co-Chair countries conveyed to us Azerbaijan’s views on the basic principles of the peace treaty.

These principles are as follows:

– Recognition and respect for each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, inviolability of internationally recognized borders, political independence,

– Recording the absence of territorial claims against each other and de jure recording the obligation not to make such claims against each other in the future,

– a mutual commitment not to pose a threat to each other’s security, territorial integrity or political independence in interstate relations, including by the use of force, and not to take any action incompatible with the goals of the United Nations,

– delimitation and demarcation of borders and establishment of diplomatic relations,

– Unblocking transport and other communications, creating new communications, and cooperating in other areas of mutual interest.

 

Pashinyan Speech from April 14

They say we should have stopped the war, or prevented it – did we not think about stopping or preventing the war? It was not possible to stop or prevent the war without Shushi, it was simply not possible. I have said this several times, and our soldiers who fell, Glory to them, they fought for this right. They fought for the opportunity not to surrender Karabakh, what I am talking about is about not surrendering Karabakh, dear colleagues. Note, it’s about not surrendering, because if we go the other way, we will surrender Karabakh. The incidents of Parukh are a good example, piece by piece. It is enough to deceive each other.

There are a lot of discussions since yesterday, people are asking what I said, what my speech meant. I also thought about my yesterday’s speech, what it meant and, I am sorry for I have to evaluate my speech myself, but, yes, I have a clear assessment of my yesterday’s speech. With that speech we opened a space for the Republic of Armenia, for Artsakh, because during the whole negotiation process of the previous period, Armenia and Artsakh were deprived of political and diplomatic space. We are opening a path for Armenia and Artsakh. We are opening a path for Armenia and Artsakh to preserve statehood. Because exotic thoughts are voiced, those thoughts are voiced as a threat that if something does not happen in this or that way, we will take out the people of Karabakh from Karabakh or the people of Karabakh will leave. There is an impression that there are people who dream that the people leave Karabakh as soon as possible. No, we say that the people of Karabakh should not leave Karabakh, the people of Karabakh should live in Karabakh, the people of Karabakh should have rights, freedoms, status in Karabakh․ That’s what we are talking about, and yes, we have opened that space. Our martyrs fell in order to open a perspective for Karabakh and Armenia, because since 1998, with that step-by-step-package versions, the Armenians had been deprived of that space.

We are paving the way to get our people, thousand apologies, out of the status of a sacrificial lamb, and finally, ok, let’s understand why that war happened, and why the war of 2016 did not take place earlier. It was not us to decide whether the war should be or not, we did not decide anything. I am standing at this rostrum today and I say no, Armenia is a sovereign state, we must return the right to making decisions over things, because we are a country, not a cowshed. We are country, we are citizens, we are not sacrificial lamb for others to decide how much and how to slaughter us and how much to forgive us. We are a state, we are a nation, we are sovereign, yes we are self-respecting, and yes, we are bleeding, but we have dignity and we will not allow someone else to decide or take away our rights by manipulating us, introducing models of patriotism, telling us that we have to be patriotic in the way that is in our interests. We must be patriotic in the way that is in the interests of these children. I don’t know what they are told, I even don’t know what their teachers tell them, but today I tell them that I will not allow our generations to be kept in the status of a sacrificial lamb. We speak so much that we were massacred, subjected to genocide, well, will not we finally understand the deep-rooted reasons behind that?

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