Artsakh Leaders Condemn Pashinyan’s Threats

Artsakh Leaders Condemn Pashinyan’s Threats

Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) political figures expressed strong condemnation on Friday towards Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s threats aimed at the leadership in Yerevan of Nagorno-Karabakh, which continues to assert itself as a government in exile.

Pashinyan, in remarks made on Thursday, accused this leadership of posing a significant threat to Armenia’s national security and instructed Armenian security services to be prepared to take “appropriate measures.” His message was squarely directed at Samvel Shahramanian, the president of Karabakh, who along with the entire ethnic Armenian population fled Karabakh last September.

In an interview published in France’s Le Figaro daily on Wednesday, Shahramanian affirmed that the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) persists despite the region’s recapture by Baku. He has yet to respond to Pashinyan’s warnings.

Artak Beglarian, a former premier of Karabakh and human rights ombudsman, labeled Pashinyan’s threats as “blackmail” and a clear indication that concrete actions might follow. He warned that Armenian authorities could potentially prosecute Karabakh leaders or close down the NKR office in Yerevan.

Metakse Hakobian, a lawmaker from Karabakh, accused Pashinyan of attempting to “intimidate, silence, and ultimately imprison” Karabakh leaders. She speculated that the government has already decided on its course of action.

Arpi Davoyan, a member of the Armenian parliament from Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party, affirmed that law enforcement authorities “will deal with” the NKR leadership, citing national security concerns.

During a cabinet session, Pashinyan reiterated that “there can be no government in Armenia other than the official government.” However, Beglarian countered this, asserting that the powers of the Artsakh government extend to the occupied territory of Artsakh, representing the legitimate interests of Karabakh Armenians.

Despite pressure from Azerbaijan and Turkey, Beglarian emphasized the importance of the NKR bodies continuing to function towards the goal of facilitating the return of Karabakh Armenians to their homeland, urging the Armenian government not to impede this objective.

Pashinyan has publicly acknowledged Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh months before Azerbaijan’s military offensive in September 2023. Since then, he has repeatedly signaled that the Karabakh issue is closed for his administration, prompting criticism from detractors who accuse him of appeasing Baku out of fear.