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Pashinián rules out resigning and presents a ‘road map’ that includes a reform of the Armed Forces

He assures that he wants to resume the peace process in Nagorno Karabakh, reactivate the economy and end the coronavirus pandemic

The Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinián, has assured this Wednesday that he does not plan to “renounce” to exercise his responsibilities, while presenting a ‘road map’ with which he intends to overcome the current situation and that includes a reform program of the Armed Forces.

“I have already said that I consider myself the number one responsible for the current situation. I am also responsible for overcoming the current situation and achieving stability and security in the country. I emphasize that not only do I not intend to renounce this responsibility but that I am completely committed to this work, “said the Armenian prime minister on his Facebook account, questioned since he signed with Azerbaijan on November 9 a ceasefire agreement for Nagorno Karabakh that involves renouncing several of the Azerbaijani territories that remained under control. Armenian since the end of the last war, in 1994.

Pashinian has presented a ‘road map’ that will guide the action of his Government and which is based on fifteen points, the first of which is the objective of “re-establishing” the peace process in Nagorno Karabakh under the Minsk Group of the OSCE, co-chaired by Russia, the United States and France.

This first point of the ‘road map’ will focus its efforts on the “status” of Nagorno Karabakh and will have as “priority” the “return” of the Karabakhs “to their places of residence”. In this sense, Pashinian explained that the second point of his plan is to “completely restore normal life” in Nagorno Karabakh, with the reconstruction of houses, apartments and infrastructure “under the control of the authorities” in the region.

The Armenian Prime Minister has indicated that the Government will give “social guarantees” to the families of the military and civilians killed in the conflict in the disputed region and will rebuild the residential areas and infrastructure in Armenia that have suffered damage from the fighting that began. September 27.

Another objective of the Pashinyan plan is “to guarantee the safe return of the soldiers and civilians captured” by the Azeri forces, as well as “to clarify the situation of the disappeared”. The head of the Armenian Government has advanced that a “psychological rehabilitation system” will be created for people who have “participated” in the war in Nagorno Karabakh and “for society in general”.

Along the same lines, another of the points on Pashinián’s ‘roadmap’ is the implementation of “a reform program of the Armed Forces”, an initiative that comes after he himself acknowledged that he signed the agreement with Azerbaijan because the Azeri military forces had thousands of Armenian military cornered in Nagorno Karabakh.

In addition to committing to work to overcome the coronavirus pandemic and “eliminate its consequences” in Armenia, the head of the Government has advocated in his plan to “restore” economic activity and to “intensify programs aimed at solving demographic problems” .

On the political level, Pashinián has promised to make amendments to electoral legislation and to promote a new party law, in addition to establishing an institute to train judges specialized in the fight against corruption as a previous step to the creation of an anti-corruption court. The last points of the ‘road map’ focus on promoting consultations with representatives of civil society and Armenian parties and with organizations and personalities of the diaspora.

“The most important objective of all this is to guarantee the democratic stability of Armenia and to create guarantees so that nothing threatens the formation of power through the free expression of the people,” said Pashinián.

After having dismissed the Foreign Minister, Zograb Mnatsakanián, and the ‘number two’ of the department, Shavarsh Kocharián, due to the discrepancies around the ceasefire agreement, Pashinián has said that he plans to make “changes in the Government” to put in his ‘road map’ is underway.

“The meaning and purpose of the changes will be a more effective implementation of the aforementioned program and the maximum adaptation of the members of the Government to the implementation of the ‘road map’,” he assured.

The speech of the Prime Minister of Armenia comes hours after the country’s president, Armen Sarkisián, assured that he sees the call for early elections “inevitable” after the political crisis derived from the ceasefire agreement signed on November 9 with Azerbaijan under the mediation of Russia.

The agreement has been rejected by the opposition political formations because they consider it a capitulation to Azerbaijan and for fear that it will end up putting the Nagorno Karabakh region at risk, with a majority of Armenian population and de facto controlled by the Armenian authorities since the end of the last war.

The pact signed by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia includes a cessation of hostilities, the deployment of 1,960 Russian military personnel as peacekeepers on the line of separation in Nagorno Karabakh, the establishment of an observer-controlled truce monitoring center. Russians and Turks and located on Azerbaijani soil and the return of Azeri territories controlled since 1994 by Armenia, including Shusha, the second most important town in the disputed region.

The Russian Senate on Wednesday gave its authorization to send the peacekeeping mission to Nagorno Karabakh, which began to be deployed on November 10 in the disputed region, after the signing of the ceasefire agreement.

The decision of the upper house assumes the approval of the deployment of a military contingent that will remain in Nagorno Karabakh for the next five years, with the possibility of an extension. The president of the Russian Senate, Valentina Matvienko, stressed that the deployment of the Russian military has guaranteed the end of hostilities.

“Today we see that Russia’s peacekeeping forces played a crucial role in stopping the bloodbath and brought peace to this long-suffering land,” he said, according to the Russian news agency Sputnik. Matvienko has pointed out that Russian troops also carry out humanitarian tasks and facilitate the return of refugees.

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