President Serzh Sarkisian reportedly threatened to sack more Armenian officials late on Wednesday when he held an emergency meeting with senior members of the ruling Republican Party (HHK) related to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
According to Vazgen Karakhanian, a parliament deputy and member of the HHK’s governing board, Sarkisian said that “if people cannot do their job properly, they will have no place in our official positions.” “The warning applied to everyone, including deputies,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
It was not clear to which officials the warning was primarily addressed. Sarkisian has been facing growing calls for internal political and economic reforms since the April 2 escalation of the Karabakh conflict that nearly led to a full-scale war with Azerbaijan. Many Armenian pundits believe that Armenia needs such changes in order to be able to counter further Azerbaijani attempts to end the conflict militarily.
So far Sarkisian has announced no major policy changes in response to the Karabakh escalation. He has only sacked three senior military officials.
In Karakhanian’s words, while admitting the need to learn lessons from the bloody hostilities, the president berated his loyalists for not responding to what he considers excessive criticism of the Armenian military.
“The president said: ‘Why do you keep silent when some politicians, deputies say that things are not going well, that we suffered too many casualties and that military leadership is to blame for that?’” revealed Karakhanian.
“He said that in the last three or four days we have made gains [on the Karabakh Line of Contact] and managed to win back positions [seized by the Azerbaijani army on April 2,]” added the veteran HHK figure. He did not give further details.