Armenian PM Pashinyan: Facebook post was not a call for civil war
Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan gave an online press conference following a Facebook post that caused much bewilderment, stating his words had been misinterpreted.
Nikol Pashinyan had earlier written on his Facebook page:
“I watched dozens of videos of soldiers from the front line today. I’m amazed at these guys’ shrewdness. You guys are right. I am waiting for you in Yerevan. For the ultimate solution to the problem of the whiners under the walls. Proud of you.”
This recording was perceived in Armenia as a call for civil war, reprisals against his opponents and violence, and was condemned by the Ombudsman and the president of the country made an appeal to show restraint.
However, during an online press conference, PM Pashinyan explained that he was waiting for the soldiers in Yerevan – only for a personal meeting with them, that they would return to Armenia without weapons, and he did not at all call them to physically kill anyone.
Answering the questions of journalists from 12 Armenian publications, Nikol Pashinyan also touched upon the results of the Karabakh war, the course of negotiations on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict and the mission of the Russian peacekeepers.
What the prime minister wanted to say in his status
Nikol Pashinyan commented on accusations that he had intended to unleash a civil war in the country: according to him, soldiers from the front will not return with weapons, and that these accusations are groundless.
“It’s just that everybody is uptight, and they are easy to manipulate.”
Pashinyan explained that he expected to meet with soldiers Yerevan for personal communication with them:
“Now the government is accused of participating in some dark schemes. The soldier who was on the front line knows the situation in Karabakh better than anyone else. Many of them are asking for a meeting with me, and I look forward to their return for this.”
Pashinyan also said that he addressed the phrase ‘whiners under the walls’ to the opposition.
Statements on the Karabakh war
The Prime Minister of Armenia called himself the main person responsible for the current situation in Karabakh. According to him, he is ready to appear before the court of the people ‘on condition of an honest and sincere dialogue with society and political forces.’
But first, people need to know the details that they still do not know.
Nikol Pashinyan believes that it is necessary to formulate a new agenda. And in it a special place will be occupied by the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is now becoming even more acute and important:
“The most important issue is that the people of Nagorno-Karabakh should live in Nagorno-Karabakh”, he said.
At the same time, the Defense Army of Nagorno-Karabakh, in his words, will remain and will be the guarantor of its sovereignty.
Nikol Pashinyan commented on the fall of the fortified city of Shushi, for which the Armenian units, as the prime minister noted, heroically fought to the end:
“Disinformation is circulating that Shushi was allegedly surrendered without a fight. If the city surrendered without a fight, how were the bodies of the dead Armenian soldiers found in its vicinity? Who gave them the order to defend the city? Why did they fight if the city was surrendered?”
He also denied rumors that the Russian peacekeeping contingent was deployed to the conflict zone even before the signing of the trilateral agreement of the truce.
Pashinyan also stated that he was not going to resign, there was no such issue on his agenda.
Consequences of the Facebook post
Discussions and reactions to Pashinyan’s status began at night – immediately after his publication.
In particular, it caused many in the government to resign. Irina Kaplanyan, Deputy Minister of Environment and Varag Siseryan, the chief of staff of Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan as well, announcing his withdrawal from the Civil Contract party, the leader of which is Prime Minister Pashinyan.
Three MPs from the ruling My Step bloc – Gayane Abrahamyan, Taguhi Tovmasyan and Lusine Badalyan – decided to resign as well.
Tevan Poghosyan, head of the Human Development Center organization, volunteer advisor to the president, called on the government to resign:
“Go away, and let this be the first step towards national unity.”