Protests In Armenia As Nikol “The Basement” Pashinyan Clings To Power, Baku And Yerevan Prepare For Prisoner Exchange

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Protests In Armenia As Nikol "The Basement" Pashinyan Clings To Power, Baku And Yerevan Prepare For Prisoner Exchange

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On December 1st, protests in Armenia ramped up, together with an increase in detentions of protesters and opposition figures.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held a few meetings in the previous days to set the stage for not giving up power and not resigning.

On November 30th, he held a consultation with Armenia’s senior law enforcement officers, including National Security Service Director Armen Abazyan, Chief of Police Vahe Ghazaryan, Minister of Justice Rustam Badasyan, Chairman of National Assembly Standing Committee on State and Legal Affairs Vladimir Vardanyan, Prosecutor General Arthur Davtyan, Special Investigation Service Head Sasun Khachatryan, Investigative Committee Chairman Hayk Grigoryan, Supreme Judicial Council members, candidate for President of the Court of Cassation Lilit Tadevosyan, President of the Administrative Court of Appeals Hovsep Bedevyan, President of the Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction Arthur Mkrtchyan and other officials.

All of these experts were briefed that people expected the institutions to be strong and effective in dealing with the same people who are protesting against Pashinyan.

“I especially refer to the law enforcement system and the enforcement of public order. I would like that during this discussion we exchanged views and shared our assessments of how well the law enforcement institutions are functioning today, what is our common approach in terms of interaction and the rule of law.

I want to cite a specific example. You know that the night of November 10 was marked by acts of violence; in fact, the Speaker of the National Assembly came under attack. 50 people have been charged under criminal proceedings, of which 42 were remanded in custody. 20 motions were rejected, 18 were complied with; 2 people remain in custody in the case of the attack on the NA Speaker, while the arrest of one person was rejected. The main question arising from the statistics I provided is whether an adequate response was given to what happened, and if we consider it adequate, let us take note of it, but if we do not consider it adequate, we should understand where the problem is, and why do we have such a situation?” Nikol Pashinyan said.

The leader of the “Republic” party Aram Sargsyan made a post on Facebook, in particular, referring to the regional realities and the internal political situation in Armenia.

“How to overcome the internal political crisis? The resignation of the Prime Minister now, in my opinion, will not solve the problem, but will rather cause new problems in the governing and legislative system. Actually, any new Prime Minister will have to implement the unpopular provisions of the document, which has already been signed and the new Prime Minister will be discredited very quickly, not justifying public expectations.

As a result, we will lose another valuable person. In my opinion, we do not have the right to such luxury. Therefore, I consider that the incumbent Prime Minister should present a timetable for resolving the internal political crisis and announce the deadline for the early parliamentary elections for a reasonable period.

Only then can the appointment of new members of the government yield results and be perceptible.”

Armenian President Armen Sargsyan maintains that the current Armenian government is dead and should simply be buried.

“After such a bog tragedy, any country decides that the government that has let it happen must resign,” he said at a meeting with delegates from the Armenian diaspora during his private visit to Russia, commenting on the outcome of the outbreak of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh. “If a politician is strong enough he may be back again later. The previous elections took place two and a half years ago, when the country was absolutely different. Now we are living in a different country.”

“There is a civilized way – early elections, an interim government of national accord. It doesn’t mean that each party is not have a minister, it means that a politician who enjoys general respect forms a government, preferably, a technocratic one,” he said, adding that a government of national accord should work for six to twelve months, until new elections, after which a new cabinet will be formed by the winning political force.

The Armenian president said also that it would be necessary to organize a constitutional referendum before the new elections. “Any constitution, both in a presidential and in a parliamentary system, must have checks and balances, mechanisms of containment,” he said.

He stressed that neither the president nor the prime minister should be allowed to take decisions on vital matters at their own discretion. “These things should be balanced. Our constitution is not. There should be balance between the parliament, the government and the presidential authority,” Sarkissian said.

He said that there should be elections for both President, in addition to a General Election.

Regarding the Russian peacekeeping mission, the official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov presented a report on the deployment and work of the Russian peacekeeping forces in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone. He also spoke about the joint Turkish-Russian monitoring center, which will be set in Azerbaijan.

“The Russian peacekeeping force continues to monitor the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. The ceasefire is maintained along the entire line of contact.

According to the trilateral statement of the Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan and the RA Prime Minister, on December 1, the Lachin region of Nagorno Karabakh was transferred to the Azerbaijani side under the control of the Russian peacekeeping forces. Russian peacekeepers control the 5 km wide corridor in Lachin. It ensures Nagorno-Karabakh’s connection with Armenia, the safe return of people to their homes and the movement of civilian transport.

Russian peacekeepers cleared Zorge Street in Stepanakert and the area along the power lines and gas pipeline in the Shushi-Lisagor direction from explosive devices.

During the day more than 5 hectares of land were cleared, 2 km of road, 109 explosive devices were found, which were taken to a specially equipped place and destroyed.

In total, Nagorno-Karabakh engineering units demined more than 34 hectares of land, about 12 km of roads, inspected more than 110 houses and social facilities, found and defused 1,077 explosive devices.

Russian peacekeepers help repair crews re-establish vital engineering communications in Nagorno-Karabakh.

In one day, more than 2.5 km of cabels, 1.5 km of gas pipelines, 1 km of power piplines, 4 power poles and 1 transformer substation.

The Russian brigade of military medical specialists of the special medical unit of the RF Ministry of Defense held consultations and provided specialized medical care to 67 residents of Khnapat, including 11 children. According to the Russian peacekeeping force and the ICRC, the search and exchange of bodies continues.

According to a memorandum signed between the Russian and Turkish Ministries of Defense on November 11, 2020, an agreement was reached on the deployment and operation of a joint Russian-Turkish military control center. The center will be located in Azerbaijan. The number of Russian and Turkish staff in the organizational structure of the joint center will be equal.”

The process of delivering logistic support assets for the Russian peacekeeping contingent deployed in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan continues.

The logistic support assets brought for the Russian peacekeepers were delivered to their destination point through a designated route on December 1st.

Azerbaijan insists on trading all prisoners of war with Armenia, on an all-for-all principle.

“Azerbaijan supports the exchange of prisoners and hostages on the principle of ‘all for all’,” a statement by the State Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan on prisoners of war, hostages and missing persons noted.

The Ministry stressed that they are in contact with the command of Russian peacekeepers on issues related to the missing soldiers in the combat zone.

The principle of “all for all” means that Baku also wants to get those citizens of Azerbaijan who in different years entered the territory of Artsakh and committed serious crimes. They are not participants in the last war. Just criminals serving their sentences in a prison in Artsakh.

About 40 civilians and more than 60 military personnel are being held by the Azerbaijani side, Artsakh Ombudsman Artak Beglaryan said.

The hostages ‘ data was transferred to international organizations for their return.

Russia does not observe any actions aimed at deliberately delaying the exchange of prisoners of war and bodies of the dead on the part of the participants in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, but there are objective difficulties for progress in this process. This was stated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a press conference following a meeting of the Council of Foreign Minister of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) member states in an online format.

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