Monday, 10 May 2021

W Weekly Update

27 February - 6 March

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Weekly update

 

6 March

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, reported Armenpress. Pashinyan appreciated the U.S. Government’s continued support to Armenia and the role played by the United States within the OSCE Minsk Group. The parties next referred to the situation established in the region following the war. The need to resume the peace process in the OSCE Minsk Group format was emphasized on both sides. The Armenian Premier called his interlocutor’s attention to the need for Azerbaijan to immediately return the prisoners of war, hostages and people held in captivity. In this context, the U.S. side highlighted the Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ activities and voiced readiness to continue its role in resolving the conflict. The Secretary of State stressed the importance of developing close partnerships with Armenia. Both sides stressed the need for endeavoring towards strengthening the rule of law, fighting corruption and advancing the judiciary and police reforms in Armenia. Nikol Pashinyan thanked the U.S. side for appreciation and readiness to provide assistance in the field of reforms.

https://armenpress.am/eng/news/1045347.html?fbclid=IwAR0R3vYuy8C70ZHxTUvlRroNxym5hDkxB7TxIlXMNX2Hr3IoSAXLRG-xU4Y

 

5 March

A special online discussion on Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) being held in Azerbaijan was organized in the German Bundestag on Thursday, during which Armenia’s Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) Arman Tatoyan presented a separate report. According to panorama.am the discussion took place under the chairmanship of Michael Brand, Chairman of the Bundestag Standing Committee on Human Rights, and Marian Wendt, Chair of the Bundestag Petition Committee. More than 70 German deputies took part in the discussion, the ombudsman said in a statement on Facebook. The defender highlighted the urgency of the return of Armenian POWs – servicemen and civilians – from Azerbaijani captivity. Arman Tatoyan noted that the Azerbaijani authorities are artificially delaying and politicizing the process so as to cause mental suffering to the Armenian society and especially to the families of the captives and create tensions in the country. “The ombudsman emphasized the gross violations of international humanitarian law and the rights of prisoners who are wrongly portrayed as "terrorists" given the circumstances of ongoing armed conflict,” the statement said.The ombudsman also provided information on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Azerbaijani armed forces during the war (beheadings, torture, humiliation of bodies, etc).

https://www.panorama.am/en/news/2021/03/05/Armenian-ombudsman-POWs/2463512

 

4 March

For a man in his own army’s cross-hairs, Nikol Pashinyan, the Armenian PM, seems unfazed. As long as the Armenian people have the final say, “there will be no coup,” he told The Economist. The only way out of the crisis consuming his country, he says, leads through the ballot box and early elections. On February 25 dozens of officers, including the country’s top soldier, Onik Gasparyan, demanded the prime minister’s resignation, accusing him of incompetence. Pashinyan called this an attempted coup, refused to step down and ordered Gasparyan to do so instead. Tensions in Armenia have been brewing since November, when Pashinyan signed an armistice with Azerbaijan. To many Armenians, the surrender came as a shock and a betrayal. Pashinyan immediately came under fire. The opposition blamed him for provoking the war and losing the peace. Protesters stormed government buildings. The army (and the Kremlin) bristled after Pashinyan claimed that Russia’s Iskander missiles, which Armenia used at least once during the war, had turned out to be duds. He backtracked after a phone call with Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. Many see a Russian hand in the army’s move against Pashinyan. Pashinyan was once eager to loosen Armenia from Russia’s grip and to improve relations with Western powers. That is no longer possible. Hobbling from a lost war, squeezed between two old enemies and frustrated by Western inaction, Armenia now depends on Russia’s security guarantees more than ever, no matter who is in charge.

https://www.economist.com/europe/2021/03/04/armenias-army-turns-on-its-prime-minister

 

3 March

On 1 March 2021, the European Union-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) will enter into force. In line with moderndiplomacy.eu it has now been ratified by the Republic of Armenia, all EU Member States and the European Parliament. This represents an important milestone for EU-Armenia relations. This Agreement provides a framework for the EU and Armenia to work together in a wide range of areas: strengthening democracy, the rule of law and human rights; creating more jobs and business opportunities, improving legislation, public safety, a cleaner environment, as well as better education and opportunities for research. This bilateral agenda also contributes to overall aim of the EU to deepen and strengthen its relations with the countries of its Eastern neighbourhood through the Eastern Partnership framework. From the entry into force of the Agreement on 1 March, cooperation will be strengthened in those areas which to date were not subject to the provisional application of the Agreement. The European Union stands ready and looks forward to working even more closely with Armenia on the full and effective implementation of the Agreement, in our mutual interest and to the benefit of our societies and citizens.

https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2021/03/03/eu-and-armenia-comprehensive-and-enhanced-partnership-agreement-enters-into-force/amp/

 

2 March

President of the National Assembly of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan received Ambassador of the USA to Armenia Lynne Tracy and USAID mission Armenia director David Hoffman. As Armenpress was informed from the press service of the parliament of Armenia, Ararat Mirzoyan presented the situation following the adoption of the trilateral declaration on ceasefire and emphasized that the return of war prisoners and other detainees is a priority issue for the Armenian side. The head of the parliament hoped that the USA will be more actively involved in the speedy solution of that issue. Mirzoyan also emphasized that Artsakh issue cannot be considered solved as long as the issue of the status of Nagorno Karabakh has not been decided based on the principle of the self-determination of nations. Ambassador Tracy noted that the USA is making efforts for the return of the Armenian POWs. USAID mission Armenia director David Hoffman presented to Ararat Mirzoyan the programs of the Agency in various spheres, referring to the programs aimed at capacity development of the parliament. The sides discussed issues on the Armenian-U.S. bilateral agenda, as well as emphasized the importance of calming down the tensions in Armenia's domestic political life.

https://armenpress.am/eng/news/1044961.html?fbclid=IwAR1lA5tIGaM696IoLiLaGzx7DS-0d0jlbowoWT0t86hcT100sgTjmAhmIuo

 

1 March

On February 27, President Armen Sarkissian refused to approve Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s motion on dismissing the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Onik Gasparyan. According to armenpress.am the President returned the motion with objections. Shortly afterwards, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan again forwarded the same motion to the President. The President has three days to either approve it or apply to the Constitutional Court. President Armen Sarkissian issued a statement regarding his objections on sacking the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces General Onik Gasparyan as requested by the Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. “The fact that the President of the Republic returned the draft decree with objections is inadmissibly being manipulated and has received an inadequate reaction. On this occasion we are once again stressing that the President of the Republic is executing his functions solely through the powers vested in him by the Constitution, unbiased and is making decisions guided exclusively by pan-national and state interests,” Sarkissian’s Office said in a statement. It said that the President does not represent the interests of any political force and any manipulations are inadmissible and unacceptable. The President also cited the Constitutional Court’s decision 1518 dated March 31, 2020, which enshrines that the President has alternative “discretionary” powers in appointing and dismissing the high command of the military.

https://armenpress.am/eng/news/1044786.html?fbclid=IwAR0biIhnA8cBwfG9APZt3vwkuItO3ETDTgIH9Q3AVOp6cZ9MTuFNFRrI3IM

 

28 February

Canadian freelance journalist Fin dePencier is traveling through hospitals in Armenia to document the impact of white phosphorus that was used on soldiers and civilians in the Second Karabakh War, reported civilnet.am. During the 44-day war, when the battles moved from the southern flatlands into the thick forests, Azerbaijani forces fired white phosphorus munitions throughout Karabakh. From October 29 to 31, the villages and towns were lit with white phosphorus, which, when in contact with flesh, kills the victims by burning the bone. The environmental damage to the area has yet to be assessed.

https://www.civilnet.am/news/540162/a-reporter-documents-impact-of-azerbaijans-white-phosphorus-munitions-in-karabakh/?lang=en

 

27 February

33 years ago, on February 27-29, 1988, pre-planned massacres of Armenians were carried out in the city of Sumgait (Azerbaijan) amid the encouragement of the Azerbaijani authorities and the permissiveness of the law enforcement bodies. According to mfa.am, hundreds of Armenians were killed, including women, children and elderly, and thousands of Armenians were forcibly displaced. Sumgait massacre was a response to the aspiration of the people of Artsakh to assert their inalienable right to a dignified and safe life in their historical homeland and to exercise their right to self-determination. Azerbaijan opposed the attempts of exercising human rights with the policy of collective punishment, subjecting the Armenian population of the Sumgait town to severe violence and torture.The atrocities of Sumgait instigated the ethnic cleansing and massacres of Armenians in other cities of Azerbaijan, such as Baku and Gandzak. Moreover, the unequivocal justification of such crime, the glorification of the murderers for killing Armenians were reflected in the efforts of the Azerbaijani authorities to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with the use of force.

https://www.mfa.am/en/interviews-articles-and-comments/2021/02/27/sumg/10816

 

Sources: www.armenpress.am, www.panorama.am, www.economist.com, www.moderndiplomacy.eu, www.civilnet.am, www.mfa.am

27 April 2021
19 April 2021
12 April 2021
05 April 2021
29 March 2021
22 March 2021
13 March 2021

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