Time in Yerevan: 11:07,   22 April 2024

Pashinyan opens up on pre-war developments

Pashinyan opens up on pre-war developments

YEREVAN, APRIL 13, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addressed the causes of the 44-day war and his responsibility and fault in it.

Speaking in parliament, Pashinyan said the Armenian side’s death toll in the war as of today is 3825. The majority of the victims were found or identified through DNA and buried in 2021.

“The endless flying flags in cemeteries are the main symbol of 2021 and the one question that’s still with us: why did this happen? I myself must give the answer to this question and I am planning to do so now. From the very beginning I accepted my fault and responsibility for both the war and the defeat. But I have not and do not accept the accusations that the opposition addresses to me after November 9, 2020, accusing me in surrendering territory and in treason. At first glance it could seem absurd that I accept my guilt but I don’t accept the accusations, and perhaps in all dimensions, political, moral or the conversation on the future the time has come for the dualism to be resolved. In a recent interview I had hinted that if they want to attribute an objective accusation against me they should accuse me not in surrendering territory but in not surrendering them. And now I want to confess that I am guilty in that,” the PM said.

He added that he is guilty in not publicly saying in 2018 and 2019 that all friends of Armenia expected that it will surrender the 7 regions to Azerbaijan in any configuration and to lower the threshold for the Artsakh status.

“I am guilty that I didn’t tell the people that the international community is definitively and unequivocally recognizing Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and expects us to recognize it as well, and that it also expects the Azerbaijanis who left Karabakh to be fully involved in determining the future of Nagorno Karabakh and governance issues. I am guilty for not clearly and unequivocally saying that the scenarios proposed to us that were unacceptable for us were not acceptable for Azerbaijan and representatives of the international community were telling us, sometimes clearly and sometimes through diplomatic channels, that in case of the Armenian side accepting this all they still have to convince Azerbaijan to accept it as well. I had to present to our people all this in detail,” Pashinyan said.

“This kind of a formulation of the accusation isn’t at all an attempt to mitigate the situation, but on the contrary I am aggravating it further because perhaps by surrendering [land] I would’ve saved thousands of lives, and by not surrendering I became the author of decisions that led to thousands of deaths. And perhaps the well-known saying is for such cases: ‘this is more than a crime, this is a mistake’. Or as it would be said for our case: this is more than treason, this is a mistake,” the PM said.

He said the situation is so difficult that this doesn’t end the story, because it is one thing to tell the people about this all in time, but it is another matter to convince the people in the need for concessions, and it is another matter to implement this all.

 

 

“In order for me to have spoken to the people about this in time, I had to first of all convince myself that this was the right path. And I have to confess I couldn’t convince myself. Why? For the same reason why till this day some of our opposition partners are unable to deal with reality and we can formulate the reasons this way – ‘Sansar or Kubatli, Zangelan or Kovsakan?’

For the same reason that till this day some parliamentary colleagues of Artsakh and Armenia, while speaking about Artsakh’s territorial integrity, often mean not only Shushi and Hadrut, but also the 7 regions, which are considered part of the Artsakh Republic under Artsakh legislation to this day.

I couldn’t convince myself also for the reason that for 25 years we’ve been telling the Armenian society that all our past and present sufferings have one goal – the freedom of Artsakh. All our deprivations are for the sake of having a strong army and it is difficult to belive that the army built on so much suffering would be unable to protect our dream,” Pashinyan said.

Pashinyan said the geopolitical centers were generally thinking in the same direction in the sense that all where unequivocally recognizing Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, but nevertheless were not united in the logic of developments that would follow the potential surrender, and these contradictions which became stronger in Syria, Libya, Georgia and Ukraine would eventually lead to an explosion in Nagorno Karabakh.

“I couldn’t convince myself because when I was familiarizing with the negotiations documents, I got convinced that Serzh Sargsyan wasn’t at all exaggerating when he was saying that Armenia was ready to leave the seven regions but every time Azerbaijan was putting forward new demands and that Azerbaijan’s expectations are unrealistic and unacceptable for us.

I couldn’t convince myself also for the reason that I understood that Robert Kocharyan wasn’t at all exaggerating when he was saying that Armenia also has a problem of territorial integrity.

I couldn’t convince myself because it was difficult to be convinced that as a result of 30 years of deprivations it is possible to simply surrender the fruits of victory and get nothing in exchange. Accepting this would mean confessing that by declaring a state we created a façade and completely failed in the institutional establishment of our state, failed it completely. Even by having been an oppositionist for many years I couldn’t confess this to myself and moreover I couldn’t make this decision and verdict my looking into the eyes of our people,” PM Pashinyan said.

“In this entire situation and story only few things changed politically and military-politically. Azerbaijan got seven regions and a part of Nagorno Karabakh, Russian peacekeepers were deployed into Artsakh. All other things, absolutely everything else remains the same,” Pashinyan added.

“Today the international community is clearly telling us: to be the only country in the world that doesn’t bilaterally recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan – Turkey’s ally – is a big threat not only for Artsakh but for Armenia.

Today the international community is again telling us: lower a bit your threshold in the issue of Nagorno Karabakh’s status and you will ensure big international consolidation around Armenia and Artsakh.

Otherwise, the international community says, we ask you not to rely on us, not because we don’t want to help you but because we can’t help you, A recent conversation I had with a foreign high-level official left a deep trace in my mind. This official was saying that during the last 200 years his people faced dilemma for seven times, to fight or not to fight. There were cases when they decided to fight and had success, but they had cases when they decided to fight and failed, and there were cases when they decided not to fight but couldn’t, because the fight was imposed on them. To an extent this issue always faces different nations, because there is a terrifying fact: Today in the world, or in the old world, there are no countries or are very few that are satisfied and happy in their borders and find them fair. There simply isn’t, but somewhere, somehow one must stop and he is grateful to the generations that made the decision to stop and was able to realize this decision,” Pashinyan said.

He said that these are the social and moral motives that force him and his administration to consistently claim that there is no alternative to the peace agenda.

 

 

 

 








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