Pashinyan Again Challenges Armenia’s Independence Declaration

Pashinyan Again Challenges Armenia’s Independence Declaration

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has once again voiced his criticism of Armenia’s 1990 declaration of independence, as he defends his plans to draft a new Armenian constitution.

The 1990 declaration, which Azerbaijan resents, references a 1989 unification act between Soviet Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. It also calls for international recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey and Western Armenia. This declaration is currently cited in the preamble of Armenia’s existing constitution, adopted in 1995.

In an interview with Armenian Public Radio aired on Thursday, Pashinyan expressed his desire to exclude this reference from the new constitution. He emphasized the need to reassess the significance of the declaration in today’s context, questioning whether Armenia’s state policy should continue to be guided by its principles. Pashinyan suggested that adherence to this declaration would perpetuate conflict and hinder efforts for peace, potentially leading to further hostilities.

While Pashinyan did not deny claims from Armenian opposition figures that pressure from Azerbaijan was influencing his decision to amend the constitution, he asserted that Azerbaijan was attempting to exploit the situation to undermine Armenia’s position. Despite these concerns, he acknowledged that the proposed constitutional changes might not necessarily deter Azerbaijani aggression.

Critics of Pashinyan, including political opponents, argue that his unilateral concessions to Baku only heighten the risk of renewed conflict. They contend that Armenia’s willingness to make concessions without reciprocal gestures from Azerbaijan could embolden aggressive actions from its neighbor.