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Pashinian Meets Armenian Army Top Brass


Armenia - Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian meets with the Armenian military's top brass, March 10, 2021.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian met with the Armenian military’s top brass on Wednesday two weeks after it accused him of misrule and demanded his resignation.

The meeting came just hours after Pashinian completed the sacking of Colonel-General Onik Gasparian, the chief of the army’s General Staff.

Gasparian condemned his removal as “unconstitutional” and said he will challenge it in court. The army top brass issued, meanwhile, a separate statement that voiced support for the general and reiterated its demands for the prime minister’s resignation.

In his opening remarks at the meeting, Pashinian made no explicit mention of those demands rejected by him as a coup attempt. He indicated that he has no plans to fire other top military commanders.

“I believe that together we will manage to overcome this crisis and our state and armed forces will emerge stronger from this crisis,” Pashinian said.

“I want to ask everyone present here to continue their military service as generals, officers of the armed forces and as pillars of the structure serving as the guarantor of Armenia’s security and territorial integrity,” he said.

“I trust in you and believe that you have served the country in good faith. I want to repeat that your services are worthy of highest marks and that this evaluation cannot vanish under any circumstances.”

Pashinian went on to promise to have a “more detailed conversation” with the generals after President Armen Sarkissian approves his pick for the new chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant-General Artak Davtian.

“In this situation, unity is the most important thing needed by Armenia and its people,” added the embattled premier.

Pashinian’s office did not divulge other details of the meeting held amid continuing opposition demonstrations in Yerevan aimed at forcing him to resign over his handling of last year’s war with Azerbaijan.

The Homeland Salvation Movement, an opposition alliance staging the protests, has hailed the military’s February 25 statement demanding Pashinian’s resignation.

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