Following the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh war, and the refusal of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to assume any actual responsibility, there’s been quite a bit of chaos in Armenia.
Pashinyan has blamed everybody for the failure, including the people themselves, the opposition, the international community, and the previous Armenian leadership.
However, on December 7th, a leaked conversation was reminded of between Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and third President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan.
The conversation took place back in the autumn of 2016, at the CSTO summit in Yerevan.
The ex-president’s press service has confirmed the authenticity of the recording.
Notably, in the conversation Lukashenko tells Sargsyan to give up the 7 districts of Nagorno-Karabakh that Azerbaijan got after the peace deal was struck on November 10th, 2020.
Lukashenko said that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev offered to pay $5 billion for Yerevan to give up the districts.
In response, Sargsyan, who Pashinyan dubbed a traitor, said that he would pay Aliyev $6 billion to give up on these 7 districts.
“Regarding the audio recording, which was disseminated by one of the telegram channels last night, the office of the third president received numerous requests from the media, who want to find out whether the discussion contained in the audio recording is true, when it took place, where and why the third president of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, has not yet spoke about it,” the Sargsyan office commented.
Armenians are mostly perplexed as to how the recording of the non-public conversation of the presidents during the meeting in a restricted format at the session of the Collective Security Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) held in Yerevan on October 14, 2016, ended up on the Internet.
“The office of the third president accepts the publication of the audio recording as fact and refrains from commenting, given the fact that the meetings held in a closed format are not subject to comment, as they were not subject to until now,” the commentary said.
According to the conversation, Lukashenko does not agree with Sargsyan’s assertion that seven districts will “bare” the borders of Artsakh and leave its 150,000-population face to face with Azerbaijan. Therefore, real security mechanisms are needed.
The Belarusian leader offers the CSTO as an organization to take responsibility.
“For example, we must send certain peacekeeping forces there,” he said.
But at the same time, he doubted that having received the regions, the President of Azerbaijan will start a war.
“Your position is weak. I will not give up seven districts, because then you will immediately start fighting against me. And if you do not start,” he told Sargsyan.
In response, the back-then Armenian leader answered:
“Of course, what does it mean if he doesn’t start? And if he does? Alexander Grigorievich, why just give it away, I don’t understand.”
And this is when Lukashenko says Aliyev is ready to pay Armenia 5 billion (dollars) in the first stage. The President of Armenia says that he is ready to give Aliyev 6 billion, and let him give up these regions.
Also, according to the President of Armenia, he cannot give these seven regions, since the blood of five thousand Armenian soldiers has been shed there.
“So what? We’ve lost 30 million, but we are not at war with the Germans,” Lukashenko said.
But even here Sargsyan does not remain in debt: “We didn’t lose fewer people here. Only for Belarus, 30 thousand (Armenians) died.”
The posture of Pashinyan and his allies is quite different than that of the previous Armenian leadership. Corruption and scandals aside, they were at least not traitorous to the Armenian population.
Regardless of everything Sargsyan at least had political backbone to keep his country intact. Pashinyan mismanaged forces, and capitulated after entirely failing in his leadership role.
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