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Armenian Government Mum On Pashinian’s Trip To Moscow


Armenia -- Armenian Justice Minister Rustam Badasian talks to journalists and opposition protesters in Yerevan, January 8, 2021.

The Armenian government did not confirm or refute on Friday reports that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian will fly to Moscow on Monday for further talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Armenian opposition figures and some media outlets critical of the government have said in recent days that Pashinian will hold there a trilateral meeting with Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan.

A pro-opposition social media account claimed on Thursday that they will sign an agreement on Armenian territorial concessions to Azerbaijan in an effort to cement the Russian-brokered ceasefire in the Karabakh conflict zone. It said the draft agreement has already been sent to Armenian Ministry of Justice for examination.

Justice Minister Rustam Badasian and his press office were quick to deny the claim in separate statements.

Despite the denials, several dozen opposition activists and supporters rallied outside the ministry building in Yerevan on Friday to demand explanations. Badasian emerged from the building to talk to the protesters and repeat his assurances.

Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service, Pashinian’s press secretary, Mane Gevorgian, also denied the existence of such a document.

Earlier this week Gevorgian did not rule out the possibility of Pashinian’s visit to Moscow. She did not comment further.

The opposition claims appeared to have prompted concern from President Armen Sarkissian. In a statement issued by his office, Sarkissian said the government should be accountable to the public and stick to Armenia’s constitution and laws when implementing the ceasefire agreement that stopped the war on November 10.

Meanwhile, Pashinian identified his administration’s top “priorities” in the implementation process: the release of all Armenian prisoners remaining in Azerbaijani captivity, the recovery of the bodies of Armenian soldiers and civilians killed during the war, and the opening of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border for cargo and passenger traffic.

The truce accord commits Yerevan to opening a transport link between the Nakhichevan exclave and the rest of Azerbaijan, which would pass through Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province.

In a Facebook post, Pashinian again stressed that Baku will have to allow, for its part, Armenia to use Azerbaijani territory as a transit route for cargo shipments to and from Russia and Iran.

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