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Former Army Chief Urges Parliament Probe Of Karabakh War


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.

Onik Gasparian, Armenia’s former top general controversially replaced last month, called on Friday for a parliamentary inquiry into the political and military authorities’ handling of last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

In a letter to the leadership of the Armenian parliament posted on Armlur.am, Gasparian cited the need to answer “many questions” about the outcome of the six-week war and ease political tensions in the country.

The appeal came two days after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian blamed former Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Robert Kocharian for Armenia’s defeat in the war stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire on November 10.

Addressing the National Assembly, Pashinian also attacked Gasparian, who was sacked as chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff after initiating a February 25 statement by the army top brass that demanded the government’s resignation.

The embattled premier denied Gasparian’s December claims that three days after the outbreak of the 2020 hostilities he warned Pashinian that Armenia and Karabakh are heading for defeat and that the fighting must be stopped as soon as possible. He insisted that Gasparian made a statement to the contrary at a September 30 meeting of his Security Council.

Gasparian stood by his claims and accused Pashinian of “shamelessly distorting facts.”

Andranik Kocharian, the pro-government chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on defense and security, spoke out against the formation of an ad hoc parliamentary commission proposed by the general.

Kocharian argued that the commission would have no time to conduct such an inquiry because the current parliament is expected to be dissolved in June. Only the next National Assembly can properly investigate all circumstances of the war, he said.

One of the two parliamentary opposition parties, Bright Armenia (LHK), already demanded such a probe in December. The parliament’s pro-government majority objected to the idea.

During Wednesday’s parliament debate, LHK leaders accused Pashinian of trying to dodge responsibility for the outcome of the war which left at least 3,600 Armenia soldiers dead and led to sweeping Azerbaijani territorial gains.

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