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Hrant Gadarigian

Pashinyan’s April 13th “Mea Culpa”; Clear About-Face on Karabakh

For those interested what Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had to say yesterday at the National Assembly, during his speech regarding how the government is implementing its post-war action plan, here it is, the official translation.

It’s a speech in which Pashinyan said the Third Armenian Republic has reached a critical juncture where sober judgement and national consolidation is needed to prevent yet another round of the loss of Armenian statehood.

Pashinyan started by describing how his government stabilized the political and economic situation in Armenia following the war.

Let’s begin with the political aspect.

“After the 44-day of the catastrophic war, in an atmosphere of public unrest and riots, attacks and threats, the political majority found the strength to maintain and defend the status of the people as the supreme power by holding early parliamentary elections.”

As for the economy:

“The next major achievement of 2021, which is of institutional importance, was the maintenance of macroeconomic stability in the difficult post-war period, which was also exacerbated by the internal political and Covid-related crisis, the uncertain security environment and the trepidations.”

Continuing, Pashinyan said that while he accepts “guilt and responsibility” for the 2020 Artsakh war and the Armenian defeat, he does not accept opposition charges of “treason” and “surrendering lands”.

He also confesseed that he failed to tell citizens of Armenia the truth regarding the international community’s stance on Karabakh, that no one would ever recognize Artsakh’s independence from Azerbaijan.

Read his “mea culpa” in the text.

Pashinyan argued that peace with Azerbaijan is a priority despite the risks and Azerbaijan’s continued provocations. Again, read the speech for details.

Pashinyan talked about the bilateral commission tasked with drawing the new border with Azerbaijan and ensuring security there. 

He reiterated that there is nothing “unacceptable” in the five-point peace proposal presented by Baku.

Regarding Point 1 of the proposal (Recognition and respect for each other's sovereignty, territorial integrity, inviolability of internationally recognized borders, political independence), Pashinyan said Armenia has “de jure recognized the territorial integrity and inviolability of borders of Azerbaijan by ratifying the Agreement on the Establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States in 1992.)

Regarding Point 2 (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), Pashinyan said “Armenia has never had territorial claims from Azerbaijan and the Karabakh issue is not a matter of territory but of rights.”

This appears to be an about-face in Pashinyan’s position regarding Karabakh. In 2019, after coming to power in Armenia, Pashinyan travelled to Artsakh and proclaimed “Artsakh is Armenia. Period”. 

It appears Pashinyan now believes that if the security and rights of Artsakh Armenians are guaranteed, where Karabakh ends up on the global map is of secondary import.

“Therefore, we have stated that the security guarantees of the Armenians of Karabakh, the provision of their rights and freedoms and the clarification of the final status of Nagorno Karabakh are of fundamental importance for Armenia,” Pashinyan said yesterday, describing this obvious reversal as a “very powerful nuance”.

Yes, it’s a long, somewhat rambling speech that, in parts, devolves into unnecessary detail, but there are passages of insight to be culled.

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