Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian called for concentration of the pan-Armenian potential for the realization of long-term strategic goals of the nation as he addressed thousands of people in the central square of the Nagorno-Karabakh capital of Stepanakert on Monday.
In a speech likely to irk Azerbaijan that does not recognize Armenian sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh, Pashinian several times sought to emphasize the unity of different parts of the Armenian people, including the people of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, in the realization of pan-Armenian goals.
At the rally, the popular head of the Armenian government who came to power as the leader of nationwide protests in the spring of 2018 also laid out what he described as a long-term strategic vision of goals of the Armenian government until 2050.
According to this vision, in the next three decades Armenia’s population should grow from the current 3 million to at least 5 million people.
“Our goal is to create 1.5 million jobs, provide employment for 2.5 million, stamp out poverty and turn Armenia into an industrial country,” Pashinian stressed.
In the indicated period Pashinian sees Armenia’s gross domestic product increasing 15 times, average salaries rising seven times, and funding for medicine, education and science growing 20 times.
“Our goal is to have at least five Armenian technological companies whose values will be over $10 billion and 10,000 working startups,” he said. “By the index of combat readiness our army should be at least among the world’s top 20 armies and we should have one of the world’s top ten most efficient intelligence services.”
According to the Pashinian government’s vision, by 2050 Armenia will become a country annually attracting 15 million tourists and excelling in sports. “We will strive to make Armenia’s national soccer team a medal winner at a European or world championship, gain 25 Olympic gold medals and get an individual world champion in chess,” he said.
“I am convinced that many of you wonder why I am saying nothing about Artsakh [Karabakh]. The answer is very simple: Artsakh is Armenia. Period,” Pashinian said, drawing cheers from the crowd.
The Armenian premier stressed that while his government sees a comprehensive fulfillment of the goals by 2050, some of these goals can be fulfilled much earlier. “So, it does not mean that we should sit and wait until then. We start working on the realization of these goal already today,” said Pashinian, adding that it is equally important to have a “roadmap” for the realization of these “mega-goals”.
“The realization of these strategic goals should become the backbone of the pan-Armenian agenda,” he said.
At the same time, Pashinian stressed that the Armenian people should agree on a number of “consensuses” for the achievement of the ambitious goals. Thus, according to him, violence should be excluded in solving domestic issues; free and fair elections should be the only source of forming governments; any attempt to bring in foreign forces in settling domestic Armenian affairs should entail a strong reaction from the government; Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh should be free from corruption and abide by the principles of rule of law, equality of all before law, which includes independent courts.
Pashinian also stressed that the goal of negotiations with Azerbaijan around a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement should be “the defense of the results of the liberation struggle waged for the sovereignty and security of the Artsakh people.”
“Any solution reached as a result of negotiations that will be considered acceptable for the governments of Armenia and Artsakh can be regarded as acceptable only if it is popularly endorsed by people in Armenia and Artsakh,” said the Armenian premier.
Pashinian spoke in Stepanakert on the eve of the opening of the seventh Pan-Armenian games that is due to take place in Stepanakert on August 6.
The quadrennial games that will be held mostly in Yerevan through August 17 are bringing together hundreds of ethnic Armenian athletes from around the world.