No Inch of Land: Armenian hardliners riled by Sargsyan’s admission of territorial losses in Karabakh

Photo: Photolure

Opposition hardliners in Armenia have criticized President Serzh Sargsyan over his attitude towards territorial losses to Azerbaijan during the April 2-5 war in Nagorno Karabakh that he expressed in an interview while returning from an internationally mediated meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev in Vienna.

In comments made through social media they have described such remarks as defeatist and unacceptable.

Last week, 1992-1994 Karabakh war veteran and currently radical opposition figure Jiirair Sefilian accused Armenia’s leadership of hiding true information about territorial losses in Karabakh. He said more than 700 hectares of land were lost to Azerbaijan in the brief hostilities last month.

The statement triggered a debate in society and some labeled Sefilian a “traitor” who presented “invented figures” to the public.

Talking to media earlier this week, Sargsyan admitted that the Azerbaijani military managed to gain some 800 hectares of what he described as an 800,000-hectare “security zone”.

“Strategically or tactically those areas are not important,” he said, adding that regaining them would have proved costly for the Armenian troops.

Varuzhan Avetisyan, a spokesman for the extra-parliamentary Founding Parliament group, reacted to Sargsyan’s rather rhetoric suggestion to those who want to regain the lands to “go and do that.”

In a Facebook post, the radical opposition group’s representative wrote: “The suggestion is interesting. I would say, it is strategic. For Armenians it is no longer important that he [Sargsyan] cannot see and differentiate the strategic and tactical values of things.”

Founding Parliament member Alex Yenigomshyan, meanwhile, told GALA TV that Sargsyan had no right to call Armenian positions “unimportant”.

“The head of state has no right to say such a thing. As the head of state he is under the obligation to consider sovereignty over every inch of land to be a priority. It is unacceptable that anyone should say such things. But when this is said by the top official, it is a thousand times more unacceptable and criminal,” the oppositionist contended.