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Pashinian Accused Of Further Jeopardizing National Security


Armenia - Edmon Marukian, the leader of the opposition Bright Armenia Party. January 21, 2021.

Opposition parties blamed Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian on Thursday for Azerbaijani troops’ reported incursion into Armenia’s Syunik province, calling it further proof of his inability to protect the country’s territorial integrity after last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

According to Armenian officials, Azerbaijani forces crossed a local section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and advanced several kilometers into Armenian territory early on Wednesday. Pashinian said on Thursday that the authorities in Yerevan need to investigate and clarify how they managed to do that without firing a single gunshot.

“Do we have a government capable of protecting Armenia’s territorial integrity? No, we don’t,” charged Edmon Marukian, the leader of the Bright Armenia Party (LHK), one of the two parliamentary opposition forces.

Marukian said this is why the LHK and other opposition groups demanded Pashinian’s resignation immediately after Armenia’s defeat in the war stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire on November 10. He claimed that other border sections are also still not properly protected against Azerbaijani incursions.

The Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) led by former President Serzh Sarkisian said that the Syunik incident was the result of the Pashinian administration’s “criminal inactivity and wrong assessment of the situation” as well as a “deep crisis in the state governance and security systems.”

“As a result, Azerbaijan is expanding its toolkit for exerting pressure on Armenia and creating a fertile ground for seeking new concessions from the Armenian side and presenting new demands to it,” read a statement released by the HHK’s governing board.

“The ruling regime’s every day in power is increasing dangers facing Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian people as a whole,” it said.

The opposition Fatherland party, which has formed an electoral alliance with the HHK, likewise denounced the “defeatist policy pursued by the inept and treasonous regime.”

Both the HHK and Fatherland are key members of a coalition of opposition forces that has staged anti-government protests in recent months in a bid to force Pashinian to resign over his handling of the Karabakh war.

Speaking at an emergency meeting of Armenia’s Security Council held late on Wednesday, Pashinian urged his political opponents and other critics not to exploit the Syunik border standoff for domestic political purposes.

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