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 Monday, May 29 2023 11:41
Naira Badalian

Armenia`s ex-minister of defense responds to premier 

Armenia`s ex-minister of defense responds to premier 

ArmInfo.Armenia's former minister of defense David Tonoyan responded to Armenian Premier Nikol  Pashinyan's statement at his press conference on May 22, when the premier stated that even before the statement of November 9, 2020, was signed, two points - one on enclaves and the other on a corridor  via Armenia - had been removed from the text.

A number of government members disagreed with that position and  called for signing the document with the on enclaves in it. Later,  however, the same people accused the authorities of betrayal and  demanded their resignation, Mr Pashinyan said. 

In his statement, Mr Tonoyan presented some details. 

"Given the challenges Armenia and Artsakh are facing now, I am  presenting some details. After consultations on November 9, 2020, he  [the premier] decided against signing the proposed draft statement.   He instructed me, the minister of foreign affairs and heads of other  agencies to convey his position to the Russian leadership. Before we  received that instruction, Azerbaijan shot down a Russian helicopter  from Nakhichevan, at about 6:30pm. Since we had not full information  at our disposal, I had a rather hard talk with my Russian counterpart  right at the premier's office," Mr Tonoyan said. 

After it was clear that the Russian helicopter was shot down by the  Azerbaijani side, he discussed the issues of "enclaves" with his  Russian counterpart for four hours (the enclaves are located hundreds  of kilometers from the conflict zone), deployment of peacekeeping  forces, stationing of Armenian forces at their positions at the  moment of the ceasefire was to be established, width of the Lachin  corridor, etc. "the final draft of the agreed document, with no  mention of 'enclaves', was submitted to Armenia's premier," Mr  Tonoyan stated. 

"As to the question of why the issue of 'enclaves' was not settled  if, under the agreement, the Armenian troops were to remain at their  positions as of November 9, 2020, - a question MPs and reporters keep  on asking - I stress that what happened after my resignation on  November 20, 2020, particularly the withdrawal of our troops from  their positions in Syunik, as well as putting the issue of enclaves  on the agenda again, has nothing to do with the agreements I reached  as minister of defense of Armenia.

"Other details I can discuss only at the Parliamentary Investigative  Commission (for the 44-day war) provided the Armenian premier  participates in its meetings, for these facts not to be distorted by  anyone later," Mr Tonoyan said.  

At present, David Tonoyan is in pretrial detention on charges of  abuse of office. He ruled out his participation in the work of the  Parliamentary Investigative Commission because the information on  hostilities, preceding and following events, is classified and he has  no access to it because of being "under illegal arrest." 

Mr Tonoyan also points out that he needs the necessary information to  provide accurate data to the Commission. However, he has had no  contacts with Armenia's Ministry of Defense since November 20, 2020,  and has been "isolated on trumped up charges" for a year and seven  months.  Mr Tonoyan also doubts the impartiality of the Commission  Chairman,  Andranik Kocharyan, "given his irresponsible statements  concerning myself and the Armed Forces, after November 9." 

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