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Sarkisian Hits Back At Pashinian Over Remarks On Karabakh Talks


Former Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (archive photo)

Former Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has called Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s account of the history of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process that puts the blame for its failure on the previous government as an outright lie.

In a statement released by his office Sarkisian responded to accusations made by Pashinian during a public rally on a visit to the western Aragatsotn province on Saturday.

Addressing scores of supporters in the village of Nerkin Bazmaberd Pashinian, in particular, charged that Sarkisian had driven the negotiations with Azerbaijan on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh to a state where seven districts around the disputed region would be handed over to Baku in exchange for only the restoration of the former autonomous oblast.

Earlier, Pashinian said that his government attempted to change the logic of the negotiations to seek Nagorno-Karabakh’s independent status, but failed to do that.

Meanwhile, Sarkisian insisted that it is Pashinian’s policies that paved the way for last fall’s six-week war in which Azerbaijan restored control over seven districts around Nagorno-Karabakh (both militarily and under a November 10 ceasefire agreement with Armenia brokered by Russia) and captured a chunk of the former autonomous oblast proper.

“Thousands of people have been killed due to your mediocrity or by you malicious intent (the court will soon decide which of the two). You resignedly endure the enemy’s encroachments on Armenia, flirt with the enemy who tortures our fellow citizens in Baku prisons, destroys our cultural values in Artsakh [the Armenian name for Nagorno-Karabakh]. Nobody believes you anymore, because you lied throughout the war, after it and continue to lie to this day,” the former leader said.

Sarkisian reminded that since coming to power in 2018 Pashinian insisted that he was not conducting negotiations with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. According to the former president, however, “the lie was revealed” when in April 2020 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that back in April 2019 a new draft proposal envisaging a phased settlement was submitted to the parties. “No one in Yerevan has officially denied Lavrov’s statement,” Sarkisian said.

“Another lie was exposed when the Russian co-chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group, Igor Popov, commented on [Pashinian’s] notorious article “The Origin of the 44-Day War,” in which the capitulator claimed that the proposals of the Russian side to resolve the conflict did not concern the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, but concerned only the return of seven districts to Azerbaijan,” Sarkisian said.

In his comments, Popov, in particular, said: “The statements that Russia offered that [Armenia] simply return seven districts [to Azerbaijan] and forget about the status [of Nagorno-Karabakh] do not correspond to reality.”

Sarkisian continued: “Representatives of the other two co-chairing countries – the United States and France – have not refuted this [Popov’s] statement, revealing the irresponsible and deceitful essence of the person occupying the post of the prime minister in Armenia.”

Sarkisian further charged that because of Pashinian’s “starting negotiations from his own point” and his “populist manner of action” “all provisions on the right of Nagorno-Karabakh’s people to self-determination were pushed out of the negotiations.”

The former president again cited Popov, who said that “although it was not possible to reach a full agreement, the most important thing was that the negotiations were going on continuously until 2018 when Yerevan put forward new conditions.”

Addressing his words to Pashinian, Sarkisian concluded: “Your manipulations are endless, but you won’t be able to mislead the people. The time has come for you to answer for your actions.”

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