Addressing the UN General Assembly, Pashinyan also spoke of Turkey as a threat to Armenian national security and of Russia as a strategic partner.
The Prime Minister of Armenia gave a speech at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The key theme of his 30-minute speech was his position on the Karabakh conflict. He spoke in detail about democratic reforms in Armenia and domestic political problems that, in his opinion, were created by the previous government. He named Turkey as a “threat to Armenian security and the Armenian people,” and Russia as Azerbaijan’s main strategic partner.
Here are some details of the main points of the speech.
The Karabakh conflict and relations with Azerbaijan
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called for Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev to create the necessary conditions for progress in the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
“Any decision must be acceptable for the Armenian people, as well as the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan. We must work together to bring this plan into reality,” said Pashinyan.
The Armenian Prime Minister believes that the Azerbaijani government does not want to find a compromise on Karabakh. He says that with their actions and statements, they prove that they seek not to resolve the conflict, but rather revenge for the “unsuccessful acts of aggression against the Karabakh people in 1990 and 2016″:
“The Azerbaijani government have no intention of resolving the conflict. Instead, they want to defeat the people of Nagorno-Karabakh… The supreme power of Azerbaijan has remained steadfast in its position, striving for a solution to the Karabakh issue that would benefit only the people of Azerbaijan. To this end, anti-Armenian sentiments are being on the rise, enormous resources are being spent on weapons, and Armenia-phobia has become the official political stance.
They want to return Nagorno-Karabakh to the same status it had in Soviet times. But their efforts are in vain, because in Soviet times, the people of the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region exercised their right to self-determination and declared their independence, leaving left the USSR. The Azerbaijani people did the same. And Baku holding this position is equal to the idea of rebuilding the Soviet Union”.
According to Pashinyan, Baku is representing the Karabakh conflict as a territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“We do not agree with this viewpoint, this conflict is not about territory. It is about people, about men and women, about their right to live in their homeland, to live like their ancestors lived in years past. Unfortunately, the Azerbaijani government doesn’t want to actually speak with these people, because they’re only interested in the territory, not the people living there. More precisely, they’re interested in the territory without the people living there.”
Neighboring countries – strategic partners and threats
Before he rose to power, Pashinyan advocated for Armenia’s withdrawal from the European Economic Union, headed by Russia. But by the spring of 2018, when the Velvet Revolution broke out under his leadership, his position on the issue changed drastically. At the same time, however, like previous administrations, he speaks of the need for cooperation with both Russia and the West:
“Russia is our main strategic partner and ally, Georgia and Iran are our strategic neighbors. We have already formed strategic ties and a partnership with the US, as well as the EU and member countries. And for us, it is a huge challenge to navigate the interwoven conflicts and disagreements between our partners, since we are constantly at risk of being misunderstood by some or all of them,” notes Pashinyan.
The Prime Minister says that the tension that exists between Armenia’s neighbors and strategic partners puts the country in a rather uncomfortable position:
“Our situation is complicated by the fact that some of our friends, and possibly all of them, may misunderstand our position.”
And in this context, the head of state commented on relations with Turkey. He believes that Turkey “remains a serious threat to Armenian security and the Armenian people.”
In his speech, the Prime Minister touched on the topic of democratic reforms within the country, which are being hindered by the political elite:
“We have an unshakable determination to promote democracy and reform in our country. It is based on the solid support of our people, and we have a responsibility to them to implement reforms, ensure justice, improve economic and social conditions and develop our nation…
And they [the previous administration] are trying to avoid justice by using their financial resources and challenging our democratic achievements and the democratically elected government of Armenia, which was not involved in the redistribution of property and wealth. ”
The new government has expressed its concerns about rumors and false information spread by the media under the influence of the previous administration. And Pashinyan once again touched on this topic in his speech, having previously stated that his administration does not interfere in the media and does not attempt to control it:
“Nonetheless, some media agencies who are still obedient to members of the previous administration think up false rumors and sow distrust among the people about the situation in the country and the true intent behind the Velvet Revolution. Despite this challenge, we are ardently determined to stimulate and protect the freedom of media agencies.”