Thousands Rally in Yerevan to Reject ‘New Concessions’ To Azerbaijan

Thousands Rally in Yerevan to Reject ‘New Concessions’ To Azerbaijan

Armenia’s two main opposition alliances rallied thousands of supporters in Yerevan on Tuesday to warn Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian against agreeing to restore Azerbaijan’s control over Artsakh.

AZATUTYUN.AM – Leaders of the Hayastan and Pativ Unem blocs said that Pashinian is ready to make this and other concessions to Baku. They also accused him of jeopardizing Armenia’s territorial integrity with his conciliatory policy towards Azerbaijan.

“These authorities have no mandate to lead the country to new concessions with false promises of peace,” Hayastan’s Ishkhan Saghatelian told the crowd that gathered in Yerevan’s Liberty Square.

Saghatelian claimed that instead of strengthening national defense and security they are preparing the ground for “new concessions” by scaring Armenians with the prospect of another war with Azerbaijan.

“None of us present here wants war, but we can’t surrender to the butcher,” said Aram Vartevanian, another senior Hayastan figure.

“We can’t lose again because we have nothing to lose anymore,” agreed Pativ Unem’s Hayk Mamijanian.

A resolution presented by the two opposition groups to the demonstrators says that Armenia must remain a guarantor of Nagorno-Karabakh’s security and avoid signing a peace treaty with Azerbaijan that would undermine the Karabakh Armenians’ right to self-determination. It warns that failure to do this would spark a popular uprising.

Armenia - Opposition leader Ishkhan Saghatelian addresses supporters during a rally in Yerevan's Liberty Square, April 5, 2022.
Armenia – Opposition leader Ishkhan Saghatelian addresses supporters during a rally in Yerevan’s Liberty Square, April 5, 2022.

“Any government that deviates from our vital demands will be sent to hell,” Saghatelian declared before the protesters marched to a key street intersection in central Yerevan and blocked traffic through it for an hour.

The opposition warnings came on the eve of Pashinian’s talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev that will be hosted by European Council President Charles Michel in Brussels.

The talks are expected to focus on an Armenian-Azerbaijani “peace treaty.” Baku wants such a deal to be based on five elements, including a mutual recognition of each other’s territorial integrity. Pashinian has publicly stated that they are acceptable to Yerevan in principle, fuelling opposition claims that he is ready to recognize Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh.

Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and other political allies of Pashinian have said that Yerevan will also raise the issue of Karabakh’s status in upcoming negotiations with the Azerbaijani side.

Baku has ruled out any discussions on the status, with Aliyev repeatedly saying that the Azerbaijani victory in the 2020 war put an end to the Karabakh conflict.

Copyright (c)2020 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.