Pashinyan to Nation: “Karabakh Issue Has Not Been Resolved”
Here are excerpts of Prime Minister’s live address to the nation today touching on the war in Artsakh, the ceasefire declaration, the political situation in Armenia, and hopes for the future.
Dear people, sisters and brothers.
Armenia and the Armenian people are living extremely difficult days. There is sorrow in the hearts of all of us, tears in the eyes of all of us, pain in the souls of all of us.
The end of the war on September 27, with the signing of a document such as the joint statement of the Prime Minister of Armenia, the Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan on November 10, in fact, caused public despair and many questions, the answers to which I am expected to answer first.
Why was such an unfavorable document signed? It happened because the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia reported that every minute is very important, and the war must be stopped immediately. And the President of Artsakh warned that if the hostilities do not stop, we can lose Stepanakert in days, even hours.
Many, of course, can say that if we had already lost Hadrut, Shushi, we could have lost Stepanakert as well, and not much would have changed. The reality, however, is a little different, because if Stepanakert was lost, which, as Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan already confirmed in a public speech, was largely defenseless at that time, then Askeran and Martakert would inevitably be lost, moreover, very predictably, because this The cities were rear at the start of the war, far enough from the front line and lacked defensive structures and fortifications. Nor were there enough fighting forces that could realistically defend these cities.
Many people are also asking why I haven’t resigned for signing that paper? Because it would mean desertion, it would mean leaving the responsibility of carrying out a hellish mission for the sake of a soldier on someone else's shoulders, hoping that later they would say that Prime Minister Pashinyan was so patriotic that he did not sign that humiliating letter. : Also because, as I said, decisions had to be made within hours, otherwise the wheel could spin, which could no longer be stopped in any way.
The next question that is regularly asked is the following. And why did I not consult with the people before signing that document? For a very simple reason. When talking to the people, I had to present the objective situation to the public honestly, which means giving detailed information about the situation to the enemy, moreover, presenting a detailed plan to block our 25,000 soldiers for hours, with all the ensuing consequences. And then, I promised to discuss with the people the options for the settlement of the Karabakh issue, and this document does not envisage a substantive solution to the issue, but only a cessation of hostilities. The Karabakh issue was not resolved and is not resolved, and in this regard, there is still work to be done.
As for the content of the document itself, yes, it is bad for us, but we should not make it worse than it really is. There are rumors about handing over Meghri, which is absolute nonsense. It is only a matter of unblocking the region's transport routes, including from Azerbaijan to Nakhichevan, but this means that the transport routes from Yerevan to Nakhichevan through Syunik, including Armenia's railway connection with the Islamic Republic of Iran, must be unblocked, which can be significant in terms of the further development of our country's economy.
As for Nagorno Karabakh, or more precisely the part under the control of the Artsakh authorities, the deployment of Russian peacekeepers in the Lachin corridor from Goris to Stepanakert will be uninterrupted, and in the Shushi area, Russian peacekeepers will provide the same safe route. Stepanakert-Yerevan connection must be reliable. The peacekeepers will also ensure the security of the border in this part of Artsakh, so the residents of the settlements within the perimeter of the peacekeepers' deployment must return to their homes as soon as possible, and the governments of Armenia and Artsakh will do everything possible to eliminate the destruction as soon as possible. to create the conditions.
The issue of the final settlement of the Karabakh issue and the status of Artsakh is of fundamental importance. In this regard, our actions do not change, and the international recognition of the Artsakh Republic is becoming an absolute priority, and, in fact, there are more weighty arguments for the international recognition of Artsakh.
I want to touch upon our further activities in the Republic of Armenia. Our priority is to restore the atmosphere of stability and security in the country, which is the only guarantee of the people's power. At this moment, we must first ensure that the people fully master their inalienable right to form a government, to have power. The government will not succumb to the provocations of rioters sponsored by the former authorities. The organizers of the riots and many of the active participants have been arrested, many are hiding, but they will be found and brought to justice.
Our country has a future, and we must do everything to make this difficult ordeal of ours an important cornerstone of that future. And we must learn from the mistakes we have made nationally.
Many will ask if we can talk about a good future after this brutal war. Yes, because today there are countries in the world that have suffered the most severe capitulations of the 20th century, but today are among the most powerful countries in the world. They did it after a severe defeat, emphasizing the development of education, science, industry and democracy, and this should be our next step.
And I urge all of us to focus on what we can do to strengthen our country. This will be our best service to the memory of our martyrs, our wounded and disabled servicemen. To their relatives, families, mothers, fathers, wives, children.