‘I take personal responsibility for this’ – Armenian PM on situation in Karabakh
“If there were failures, then I was wrong somewhere, but you need to understand when and how, especially in the current situation,” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in a video message to Armenian citizens on his Facebook page late last night.
Nikol Pashinyan tried to analyze his mistakes on the Karabakh problem – from the moment he took office until the signing of the truce on November 10.
The main question that the prime minister tried to answer – what did he do wrong to prevent the war.
He explained that since becoming prime minister in 2018 and getting to know the situation on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, he had found out much that he hadn’t been warned about before: the Armenian side was expected to abandon five regions around Karabakh – without specifying the status of NK or any specific mechanisms for determining it. Otherwise, a war would start.
Pashinyan explained that he did not talk publicly about this either then or at the beginning of September 2020, when there were clear signs of the coming war, or at the first stage of the war. He says that very few people in the Armenian society would agree to the proposed conditions at those stages. Even now, after great losses, the people cannot accept them.
Moreover, he was still looking for opportunities to change the logic of negotiations, making every effort to fight for the rights of the residents of Karabakh.
Pashinyan also touched upon widespread myths claiming that the principles of the settlement were developed per ‘some foreign policy subtleties’ – he probably hinted at his not so smooth relations with Russia, which his predecessors had supported. This is precisely what the opposition is now accusing him of.
However, Pashinyan said that the approaches to solving the Karabakh problem were the same in 2015 and 2016. At the same time, Pashinyan regrets that Armenia has failed to alter the perception of the Karabakh conflict in the eyes of the international community as a territorial dispute for this whole time.
In conclusion, Pashinyan explained the timing when the decision was made to surrender the regions around Karabakh and end hostilities. The time came when it became clear that there was no way to turn the tide and that the task was to avoid the worst-case scenario.
“Now we can say that if we had agreed to these conditions a year ago, we would have had a more favorable situation than now. But who would have believed it a year ago? Very few. Myself, I wouldn’t have believed it. And it would seem as if we gave something away without fighting for it.”
Looking back on these events, Pashinyan admitted that this is the framework in which he says he is ready to bear responsibility for his mistakes. At the same time, he states that all the while alternative solutions were unacceptable for the Armenian side.
He also admits that in his years in the office, despite close attention to the problems of the army, the government has not been able to invest as much money in its development as desirable.
“Now it remains to concentrate on strengthening Armenia and Karabakh – intellectually and economically. We need to realize that while we fell, we didn’t fall to our knees – we heroically stood to the end, and on the very edge [of the abyss] we decided not to fall to the bottom. It was a painful decision, but necessary and inevitable because otherwise, the situation would have been much worse.”