05/26/2023, 09.22
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Political clash in Yerevan over Baku opening towards Nagorno Karabakh

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Opposition in revolt after PM Nikol Pašinyan's statements on the recognition of Azerbaijani sovereignty over the disputed territory as part of the ongoing negotiations. Socialists call for street protests against 'capitulation'. The government: 'We will protect the real interests of Armedia'. The next round of official negotiations will take place in Granada in October.

Yerevan (AsiaNews) - Following Prime Minister Nikol Pašinyan's statements on the recognition of Nagorno Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory, the leader of the Armenian Socialist Federation "Dašnaktsutyun", Iškhan Sagatelyan, said that the oppositions "will begin a new phase of struggle, with the aim of replacing the current government".

"We have five to six months to stop the process of selling off our country," he said, before agreements are finalised in October, when the next round of official negotiations is scheduled to take place in Granada, Spain.

Sagatelyan recalled the series of meetings over the past year in Moscow, Chisinau and Brussels, pointing out how Pašinyan has been increasingly vocal about the 'cession' of Artsakh (Karabakh), using maps and time charts of territorial transfers. In his opinion, the oppositions must also 'formulate in precise ways the steps and actions of the struggle, in Armenia and Artsakh, with protests aimed at demonstrating that all documents signed in negotiations with the enemy are without any validity'.

The socialists intend to 'ensure maximum national unity in order to avoid a new capitulation', openly speaking of a 'struggle in the streets', but without for the moment indicating explicit dates for the protests.

The government in general is deemed 'illegitimate', and any initiative to get rid of it 'has the value of a revolt, of a gesture of disobedience, because this power leaves us no choice: either surrender, or fight for the fatherland'.

The socialist leader says he does not want to 'foment violent actions', but to 'defend the sacred right of the people to rebel against the slavery to which they are forced'. Also agreeing with Sagatelyan is another representative of the oppositions, the head of the republican 'I have honour' party, Ajk Mamidžanyan, who says that 'every second lost brings new damage to the two Armenian states', namely Yerevan and Stepanakert. He trusts that the government will 'eventually resign under pressure from the Armenians'.

Already last year, the oppositions had formed the coordination known as 'Disobedience', which organised several marches and street demonstrations, without succeeding in getting Pašinyan to step down.

Today, they want to return to the fray in a more organised and effective manner, although majority MP Artur Ovannisyan commented that 'given the precedents, we can assume that the oppositions have exhausted their resources'.

Ovannisyan adds that 'no one will prevent anyone's free expression: we only ask these circles not to create obstacles with their actions for the achievement of the true interests of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh'.

Otherwise,' he adds, the protests will be stopped by the government 'firmly and within the limits of the law'. He confirms that members of the parties supporting the government, starting with the Civil Accord party, also believe that Azerbaijani President Aliev is an 'untrustworthy criminal'. But with international support, 'a long-term peace agreement must be reached as soon as possible'.

The Stepanakert parliament is also lobbying against Pašinyan, demanding sovereignty status over Azerbaijan, as the Civil Accord also promised in its election campaigns. Ovannisyan notes, however, that 'the situation has changed a lot, and we are constantly informing the population. First,' he adds, 'the recognition of the sovereignty 'of the 29,800 square kilometres of the whole of Armenia, with measures for the security and rights of all those who live in Artsakh' must be guaranteed.

The government assures that it 'will be honest with the people', and no secret documents will be signed. There will be new meetings in Moscow in the next few days, although the peace agreement has yet to be finalised, hoping that the internal confrontation in Armenia will not degenerate in the meantime.

Photo: Flickr / Clay Gilliland

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