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 Sunday, September 24 2023 13:25
Naira Badalian

Developments in Nagorno-Karabakh give rise to serious questions about  goals and motives of Russian peacekeepers` presence - Nikol Pashinyan 

Developments in Nagorno-Karabakh give rise to serious questions about  goals and motives of Russian peacekeepers` presence - Nikol Pashinyan 

ArmInfo. On September 24, Armenia's Premier Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addressed a message  about Independence: 

The message reads: 

Dear people, dear compatriots,

A number of events that have taken place in recent years have forced  all of us to evaluate, re-evaluate the situation, and draw  conclusions. What happened in Armenia, what is happening and what  should happen?  These are the questions the answer to which is  strategic for the future.

The attacks undertaken by Azerbaijan against the Republic of Armenia  in recent years lead to an obvious conclusion that the external  security systems in which we are involved are not effective for the  state interests and security of the Republic of Armenia. This was  seen both during the 44-day war and during the May and November  events in 2021, as well as in September 2022, and this list goes on.

The capture of Khtsaberd and the Hin Tagher of Nagorno-Karabakh in  December 2020 and the capture of more than 60 Armenian servicemen,  the events of Parukh, the numerous expressions of intimidation of the  Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh, the illegal blocking of the  Lachin Corridor, the September 19 Azerbaijani attack on  Nagorno-Karabakh, raise serious questions in Nagorno-Karabakh as well  about the goals and motives of the peacekeeping troops of the Russian  Federation.

In spite of the tripartite declaration of November 9, 2020, the  Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh are still facing the threat of ethnic  cleansing. In recent days, humanitarian goods have entered  Nagorno-Karabakh, but this does not change the situation. And if real  conditions for Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians to live in their homes and  effective mechanisms of protection from ethnic cleansing are not  created, the chances that the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians will see  leaving their homeland as the only way to save their lives and  identity is greatly increased.

The responsibility for such a development of events will fall  entirely on Azerbaijan, which has adopted the policy of ethnic  cleansing, and on the peacekeeping troops of the Russian Federation  in Nagorno-Karabakh.  Of course, the Armenian government is working  with international partners on the formation of international  mechanisms for ensuring the rights and security of the Armenians of  Nagorno-Karabakh. But if these efforts do not give concrete results,  the Government will welcome our sisters and brothers of Nagorno  Karabakh to the Republic of Armenia with all care.

By doing so, however, the issues mentioned above will not only be not  addressed, but will be exacerbated.  The Republic of Armenia has  never abandoned its obligations as an ally and has never betrayed its  allies.  But the analysis of the events shows that the security  systems and the allies we have relied on for many years have set a  task to demonstrate our vulnerabilities and justify the impossibility  of the Armenian people to have an independent state. Moreover, such a  policy has nothing to do with the Government established by the  popular, non-violent, velvet revolution that took place in 2018 in  Armenia, we have seen the manifestations of that policy regularly in  recent decades. The four-day war of 2016, the border escalations of  2014-2015 were also an expression of that policy.

We have never agreed with formulations calling into question the  independence of Armenia. However, it is concerning that instead of  heeding our desire for an independent, sovereign, free and democratic  state, some of our partners are increasingly making efforts to expose  our security vulnerabilities, putting at risk not only our external,  but also internal security and stability, while violating all norms  of etiquette in diplomatic and interstate relations, including  obligations assumed under treaties.

In response to these steps, we call and urge our partners to respect  our statehood and sovereignty, and express our determination to  strengthen our statehood, sovereignty, democracy, external and  internal security. We call on the international community to express  unwavering support for Armenia's independence, sovereignty,  territorial integrity and democracy. We will take all measures to  protect our independence. In this regard, it is necessary to  transform, supplement, and enrich the external and internal security  tools of the Republic of Armenia, cooperating with all partners ready  for mutually beneficial steps.  Among those measures, we observe not  only the deep and comprehensive reforms of the army and security  forces, but also the de jure recording of the Prague agreement of  October 6, 2022, and Brussels agreement of May 14, 2023, by which the  administrative borders of Soviet Armenia are de jure formulated as  the state borders of the Republic of Armenia. We are also looking at  the ratification of the Rome Statute as another measure, which will  enable the Republic of Armenia to use the capabilities of the  International Criminal Court in ensuring external security. We made  the decision to ratify the Rome Statute in December 2022, when it  became clear to all of us that the CSTO and the instruments of the  Armenian-Russian strategic partnership are not enough to ensure  Armenia's external security, and that decision is not directed  against the CSTO or the Russian Federation in any way. It stems from  our external security interest and it is our sovereign right to make  such a decision.

Dear people, dear compatriots,

Armenia should be a peaceful, developed, happy, free and democratic  state. But on this path, it is necessary to reaffirm our will to be a  free and sovereign state, and we go along that path, respecting all  our partners, but also expecting the same respect for our people, our  state, our sovereignty, our freedom. The deep meaning of the events  taking place with us in recent years and even today is this: will  Armenia be a sovereign, free, democratic state or a frightened  outlying region? This is the choice that is almost openly and  transparently brought forward in the internal political field of  Armenia. And every citizen must make a choice: he is a participant in  the movement for the defense of independence or a supporter of the  outlying province.

I am the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, therefore I lead  the independence defense movement.  If I were not the prime minister,  as a citizen I would go after the prime minister leading the movement  of the defense of the independence of Armenia, knowing that it will  not be easy, but it will happen, because the future of Armenia  depends on one person and that one person is me, the future of  Armenia depends on one person and that one person are you.

The citizen of the Republic of Armenia has not lost and will not lose  his pride and determination and the citizen of the Republic of  Armenia will win in this struggle for independence, sovereignty,  democracy, happiness and freedom.

Glory to the martyrs and long live the Republic of Armenia.  

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