Investigative committee questions former Armenian prime minister about the events of the 2016 April War
Former Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan participated in a meeting of the investigative parliamentary committee that is studying the circumstances of the “April War.” This was an escalation on the line of contact between the Armenian and Azerbaijani armed forces in April 2016.
This incident was the first large-scale military operation around Nagorno-Karabakh after the signing of the armistice in 1994. They received the name “April”, or “four-day war.”
The committee is faced with the task of investigating whether the Armenian army was given proper equipment and uniforms and provided with food. It is also investigating the effectiveness of the decisions made by commanding forces aimed at suppressing and preventing the offensive moves made by the Azerbaijani troops.
Karen Karapetyan’s participation in the committee’s meeting has been long-awaited by many people. This is because of the scandalous statement made by the former prime minister. He previously announced that during the April War, some military equipment was non-functional due to low-quality fuel.
The meeting itself was held behind closed doors and did not last long. After it was finished, the former prime minister met the press and selectively answered questions with his usual smile and light manner of speaking. He did not offer any clarification and made no comment about his previously-made statement.
Neither did Andranik Kocharian, chairman of the Investigation committee of the National Assembly of Armenia, who was also immediately swarmed by journalists. He only reiterated that the committee would finish work on June 4. And then the public will receive answers to some questions, but maybe not all, since, as the chairman stated, the matter is a state secret.
Former Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian has been invited to participate in the committee’s next meeting.
Prior to Karen Karapetyan, ex-President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan was called in to answer the committee’s questions.
Did the Armenian armed forces respond promptly to the actions of the Azerbaijani during the April war of 2016?
The former prime minister made this resonant statement in February 2017. Karen Karapetyan said that during the April War, military equipment did not work properly on several occasions due to poor fuel:
“During our research, we identified problems with the quality of gasoline and diesel fuel. The problem is often due to inadequate separation of fuels, as well as certain flaws in the way it was handled, ” said Karapetyan at the time.
The Ministry of Defense responded to the statement, saying that there were no cases of military equipment malfunctioning due to low-quality fuel in the army, including in 2016.
The prime minister’s words were also refuted by the secretary of the National Security Council, former chief of the General Staff Yuri Khachaturov, and the president’s Chief Military Inspector Mikael Harutyunyan.
What did Karapetyan say after the meeting?
The former prime minister said that he answered all the questions of the committee members, but could not provide details, as “this information is a state secret.”
Journalists were interested to know whether he confirmed his statement on fuel quality.
“I responded to the committee on that issue,” said Karapetyan.
He wished the new government success and the country a way out of the situation with minimal losses, while emphasizing:
“However, there are many matters in which I do not agree with the government.”
Karen Karapetyan resigned in May 2018 – immediately after the Velvet Revolution. Since then, the former prime minister has not participated in big politics.
“I’m no longer going to practice politics,” the former prime minister told reporters.
Who is Karen Karapetyan?
He was mayor of Yerevan for less than a year (2010-2011), but his resignation caused regret and indignation among the population, as his personality inspired hope in people.
After the resignation, Karapetyan left for Moscow, where he held high positions in the Russian Gazprom.
In 2016, Karen Karapetyan was once again invited to Armenia by then President Serzh Sargsyan.
Economist Hayk Balanyan stated in an interview with JAMnews a year ago that the charismatic Karapetyan “simply saved the authorities at the time following the rather tense events of 2016 [referring to the April military operations on the line of contact between Karabakh and Azerbaijan], reassured people with his positive image, and brought victory in 2017 [for Serzh Sargsyan’s party in the parliamentary elections]. ”
His 2016 appointment to the post of prime minister once again sparked expectations that he would make positive changes in society and postponed the bomb of the Velvet Revolution, which eventually went off in the spring of 2018.
However, Hayk Balanyan says that the former Armenian authorities, who were awarded extra time by Karapetyan’s appointment as prime minister, did not use it to solve any problems.
Karapetyan’s role during the Velvet Revolution
The public has taken a special interest in Karen Karapetyan because of the crucial meeting that took place between him and the leader of the Velvet Revolution in April 2018.
When Nikol Pashinyan, who led the protest, was detained, Karen Karapetyan met with him. Karapetyan did not disclose what agreement they came to, and now only says that he went to Pashinyan to find a way out of the tense situation.
“Everything that we agreed on was our agreement,” Karapatyan told journalists.
However, two years ago, a few hours after this meeting, Serzh Sargsyan announced his departure from the political arena.
The Investigative Committee of the National Assembly was created about a year ago. Then Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that the time had come to create a parliamentary committee to investigate the circumstances surroundin the hostilities that broke out between troops on the line of contact in Karabakh from April 2 to 5, 2016.
The committee consists of 11 deputies. It is chaired by Andranik Kocharian, the former Deputy Minister of Defense and MP from the ruling My Step Alliance.
The parliamentary committee also includes representatives from the Prosperous Armenia and Bright Armenia opposition parties.