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Armenian Military Rejects Criticism


Armenia -- Colonel-General Onik Gasparian (C), the chief of the Armenian army's General Staff, meets with senior Russian military officials, Yerevan, January 25, 2021.

The Armenian military rejected “baseless accusations” and effectively reiterated its demands for the government’s resignation on Monday night after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian lambasted its top general.

Pashinian again accused General Onik Gasparian, the chief of the army’s General Staff, of a coup attempt and “treason” as he rallied thousands of supporters in Yerevan. He claimed that Gasparian initiated the February 25 statement by the military’s top brass at the behest of former President Serzh Sarkisian.

The unprecedented statement said Pashinian and his government must step down because they have put Armenia “on the brink of destruction” after the autumn war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

“The top brass of the Armed Forces reaffirms its evaluations of the existing situation and emphasizes that despite attempts to draw the Armed Forces into political processes they remain unwavering, determined and composed,” read another statement issued shortly after the pro-government rally.

It demanded an end to “baseless accusations directed at the Armed Forces and some officials.” It also insisted that the military is sticking to the Armenian constitution and “serving only the people.”

Pashinian and his allies say that Gasparian and other generals have violated a constitutional provision upholding civilian control over the armed forces.

Pashinian petitioned President Armen Sarkissian late last week to sack Gasparian. Sarkissian refused to sign a relevant decree at the weekend.

Despite the rebuff, the prime minster resent the draft decree to Sarkissian for approval. The president had to decide by Wednesday night whether to continue blocking Gasparian’s sacking.

The generals’ demands are strongly backed by Armenian opposition forces trying to oust Pashinian over his handling of the war with Azerbaijan.

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