Members of a radical opposition movement in Armenia demand the resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan, considering that his thoughts expressed during a press conference on board a plane while returning from a meeting on Nagorno-Karabakh in Vienna, Austria, are equivalent to treason.
On May 16, after meeting with the president of Azerbaijan in the presence of the heads of the foreign policy departments of the United States, Russia and France, Sargsyan told media that the Armenian side lost only some 800 hectares of land in the April 2-5 hostilities in Karabakh, while the total security zone held by Karabakh forces is 800,000 hectares. He also said that none of the lost territories was important “strategically or tactically”.
New Armenia Public Salvation Front representatives, who held a press conference in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on Thursday night, believe Sargsyan should also be prosecuted for such remarks.
“He [Sargsyan] denied his earlier statements and accepted the actual amount of losses, which coincide with the findings made by public a few days ago. Sargsyan in fact stated that NKR is a territory with no clear boundaries. That argument is not only an insult to the constitution, but in general, rejects the right of NKR’s sovereignty. And this is not a simple act of not recognizing NKR’s independence, but also a confirmation of much more serious consequences, according to which, NKR is recognized merely as an entity, which has an indefinite form and content, and does not deserve a sovereignty,” reads the statement disseminated by New Armenia’s headquarters.
New Armenia board member Garegin Chukaszyan said that by refusing to restore the grounds fixed by the 1994 ceasefire, President Sargsyan also refused from duties to guarantee the security of Karabakh’s population.
“Trying to disguise the system’s failure in foreign policy and in the field of security, Serzh Sargsyan adopted a clearly defeatist behavior and actually contributes to the enemy country’s operations to the detriment of the external security of the Republic of Armenia,” said Chukaszyan.
Armen Martirosyan, deputy chairman of Armenia’s opposition Heritage party, said that Sargsyan’s thoughts should be officially commented on by Karabakh.
“I think that if, according to the Constitution, these are not NKR’s lands, but only a buffer zone, it can be assumed that this security zone is not property lands. Therefore, an official commentary from Artsakh (an alternative name for Karabakh) in this case is obviously necessary,” said Martirosyan.
During his May 16 press conference, President Sargsyan suggested that his critics, “who are sitting in cafes, drawing maps and show directions” to personally go and liberate the territories, instead of giving advice to others.
According to Martirosyan, the country’s president, who is also the Commander-in-Chief, has no right to make such statements.
“He says: let them go. He does not say: ‘I am the Commander-in-Chief. I do not allow doing voluntary actions, doing lawlessness, trying to capture some grounds, to liberate lands on their own initiative, without calculations’. It means that he actually casts off those powers of his,” said Martirosyan.
Representatives of the authorities have dismissed the criticism, saying that there was no discrepancy in the president’s estimations of the areas lost in hostilities that he gave in early April and a few days ago. They also downplay the strategic and tactical significance of the territories lost to Azerbaijan during the four-day war.