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Pashinian, Ter-Petrosian Trade Barbs


Armenia - Former President Levon Ter-Petrosian (L) and Nikol Pashinian at an opposition rally in Yerevan, May 31, 2011.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and former President Levon Ter-Petrosian have traded accusations over their handling of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In an interview with Armenian Public Television aired late on Thursday, Ter-Petrosian again blamed Pashinian for the autumn war with Azerbaijan and its outcome. He also accused the current authorities of failing to understand and cope with post-war security challenges facing Armenia.

“I’m sure that Russia is frankly telling Pashinian what it is going to do in this region and about the future of Armenia and Karabakh in general,” said the 76-year-old ex-president. “Pashinian’s problem is that he doesn’t understand what the Russians are telling him.”

Pashinian hit back at his former political mentor when he met with members of his Civil Contract party in Yerevan on Friday. In particular, he charged that Ter-Petrosian stood for placing Karabakh back under Azerbaijani control when he ruled Armenia from 1991-1998 and continues to favor the same policy.

“What he is saying is, ‘Karabakh is Azerbaijan. Period,’” claimed Pashinian.

Ter-Petrosian’s spokesman, Arman Musinian, laughed off the claim, saying that the prime minister is accusing the ex-president of something which he himself has effectively brought about.

“Pashinian has proved that he really has no clue about politics,” Musinian said in a statement.

In his televised remarks, Ter-Petrosian again defended his strong support for a compromise solution to the Karabakh which was proposed by the United States, Russia and France during the final months of his rule. He insisted that it did not call for the restoration of Azerbaijani control over the Armenian-populated territory.

Ter-Petrosian was forced to resign in 1998 by more hardline members of his administration, including Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian, who opposed that peace plan. He said earlier this week that Kocharian and Sarkisian, who served as Armenia’s presidents from 1998-2018, are also responsible for the Karabakh war.

Pashinian played a major role in Ter-Petrosian’s 2008 opposition movement. He subsequently fell out with the ex-president and set up his own party, which will try to keep him in power during the parliamentary elections slated for June 20.

Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress party will also participate in the snap elections.

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