Interviews and press conferences

PM Pashinyan’s interview to Public TV


Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan gave an interview to Petros Ghazaryan today. Below is the full text of the interview.

Petros Ghazaryan - Good evening, dear TV viewers, a few days are left until the first anniversary of the signing of the November 9 declaration. A year has passed, and today we will try to sum up that year with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan.

Good evening, Mr. Prime Minister. Thank you for accepting our invitation. One year has passed since the declaration of the ceasefire on November 9, 2020. How does Armenia assess the implementation of the points of the declaration?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - First of all, we must state that the first point of the declaration refers to the cessation of fire and all military operations, and we can state by and large that, yes, the war stopped due to the signing of that declaration. And I would like to say that in this regard I highly appreciate the contribution of the Russian Federation, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, to ending the war. I must also state that one of the very important points of the declaration has been fully implemented: there are Russian peacekeepers deployed in Nagorno Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor, whose activities we highly appreciate, who are today key players in ensuring security in Nagorno Karabakh, and this must be recorded.

On the other hand, I must note with regret that, nevertheless, the ceasefire regime is not fully observed in Nagorno Karabakh as well, the peacekeepers have also recorded this, and I hope that a proper investigation into these cases will be carried out, and necessary measures will be taken. Let's recall the last outrageous cases when a civilian carrying out agricultural work was shot by an Azerbaijani sniper while driving a tractor. Yes, there was a peacekeeper sitting next to him in the tractor, and also the case when we had 5 soldiers wounded.

Unfortunately, I must note that since November 9, we have had many wounded and victims. We have had about 28 victims, in particular, I am speaking about the victims of the incident in the Khtsaberd-Hin Tagher section. There have also been incidents along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, we have suffered casualties. This, of course, is a very disturbing fact, and I must say that we have also had cases of military operations, in particular, the incident in the Khtsaberd-Hin Tagher section, and the incident in the Sotk-Khoznavar section, which is a gross violation of the trilateral declaration.

I must emphasize that most of our 40 confirmed captives, 90%, have been captured following the November 9 declaration, and have not been released so far, contrary to Article 8 of the statement, which clearly states that prisoners of war, hostages, other detainees must be released. By the way, Azerbaijan's interpretation of who is a prisoner of war and who is not a prisoner of war is not appropriate at all, because the statement says prisoners of war, hostages, and other detainees, that is, this declaration, this point, in fact, refer to practically everyone held against their will. Moreover, I want to emphasize that there is no difference whether the capture took place before November 9 or after November 9.

The next disturbing fact. I talked about the ceasefire violations in Nagorno Karabakh, I must state that there are also regular ceasefire violations on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, which is also a gross violation of the provisions of the trilateral declaration. I must also state that despite the November 9 declaration, the right of the Armenian population of Shushi and Hadrut regions to return to their home place has failed to be secured so far.

The next issue that I must emphasize in this context is the following. Again, contrary to the 9th point of the November 9 declaration, the regional communications have not been opened yet. Yes, a lot of work is being done in this direction, and I hope we will achieve concrete results in the near future.

All these, of course, raise some concerns, although, on the other hand, there is no doubt that the November 9 declaration and the deployment of peacekeepers in Nagorno Karabakh are the fundamental achievements. But the violations of the ceasefire regime, the incidents of our soldiers killed in Artsakh after November 9, lead us to the concern that, nevertheless, Azerbaijan has adopted a policy of discrediting the activities of peacekeepers.

Petros Ghazaryan - Mr. Prime Minister, on the eve of November 9, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement, which, for the first time, presents a clear position on the so-called "Zangezur Corridor". The main thesis is that if the roads are opened, then the countries should have the sovereign right to control those roads passing through their territories. Can we state that the topic concerning the corridor-linked developments is closed?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – That topic had been closed still since November 9, 2020, when the declaration was signed, and I have referred to this issue numerous times. On the other hand, I must say that I highly appreciate the publication of the position of the Russian Federation to this issue, because, by and large, the Russian Federation has never had a different position. It should be noted that the position of the Russian Federation has simply been made public, or rather not the position of only the Russian Federation, but also the position of Azerbaijan, because, in fact, it is clearly stated that the parties agreed on it in the trilateral working group.

And I would like to draw your attention to the recent statement made by Turkey, where, yes, they use the term "corridor", but they say that this "corridor" should be under the control of Armenia. In other words, we can actually state that regardless of the preferences of the wording, we are talking about the opening of regional communications, I must say that the Republic of Armenia is interested in the opening of regional communications, I have stated this publicly many times. Azerbaijan is also interested, Russia is also interested, the Islamic Republic of Iran is also interested, and Turkey is also interested. The task is to bring closer and homogenize the perceptions over formulas.

Petros Ghazaryan - 8 meetings have already taken place in the format of the Deputy Prime Ministers. Are there any tangible, visible tendencies or not?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - In fact, the trilateral working group has done an enormous job, I highly appreciate the work done. I must say that at first purely technical work was done, for example, what roads existed, what roads can exist?

I would like to refer to the declaration of November 9 or 10 - there are different versions, depending on the time zones, 9 or 10 - the content of the 9th point. The 9th point says, the first sentence, “All transport and economic communications of the regions should be opened”. After that, there is a reference to the fact that the Republic of Armenia guarantees the transport communication between Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan. After that, there is a reference to building new transport communications with the consent of the sides. What is this text about? This is about the that the existing transport communications must be opened, if later it turns out that the volume of cargo transportations is so large that we have to think about new communications, then we have to think about new communications.

By the way, it is very important to state - I have said it several times before - our perception is that, yes, Azerbaijan, we already mentioned it, should have the opportunity to communicate with Nakhichevan through the territory of Armenia, the sovereign territory of Armenia, and we do not deny it, we accept it and we are ready. And our perception is that the Republic of Armenia, in its turn, should have communication with the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran through the territory of Azerbaijan.

By the way, we are talking also about the following: When we say that Azerbaijan will have communication with Nakhichevan, we say that it will also have communication with Turkey. In other words, it cannot be only about internal communications. We are also pursuing the topic of international communication so that we can reach speedy solutions there. This is the answer to the question of what the working group has done?

Petros Ghazaryan – Where has it reached?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - The working group has written, drawn, studied all possible routes: Ijevan-Kazakh section, Berd-Tovuz section, Angeghakot-Bichenek section, Horadiz-Yeraskh section, Horadiz-Meghri-Ordubad-Yeraskh section. And our perception is that the Yeraskh-Ordubad-Meghri-Horadiz railway should be built, the Republic of Armenia - in its territory, Azerbaijan - in its territory, and this is also about the roads. In other words, the working group has put on the table all possible routes, including those that have access to the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran. And now we have to agree on those routes through discussions.

Petros Ghazaryan – That means that the technical part is solved, and now decisions are expected?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – In reality, the technical part is the most effort-consuming part, but not the most difficult. The most difficult part is what I already said, the issue of formulas, based on which formulas the communications should open and operate. By the way, as for the formulas, I can say the following. I think it is clearly mentioned in the trilateral statement of January 11 and also the Co-chair of the working group, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Alexei Overchuk said recently that there should be customs, passport and phytosanitary control at the border checkpoints. These are nuances needing very gentle work and discussions.

Petros Ghazaryan – Mr. Prime Minister, can we say that this process continues normally, there are no obstacles yet at this stage?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – This process goes on, but with some difficulties. There are also technical issues and the working group has presented how to resolve seperate technical issues. However, the rest remains in the realm of political decisions, which, of course, cannot be free of influence of the existing technical foundations.

Petros Ghazaryan – Particularly in the recent period, Azerbaijan speaks about that it has made a peace proposal to Armenia, and this is voiced by Aliyev from various international platforms. Turkey also stated that, look, Azerbaijan has offered peace to Armenia, and if Armenia agrees, they do not see any obstacle to establishing relations. They also emphasize, there is no answer from Armenia yet. First of all, Mr. Prime Minister, is there such a proposal, because the proposal must have some flesh and blood? Is there such an offer to the Republic of Armenia? And if you have an answer, please.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - First of all, I must say that making peace proposal is not the monopoly of Azerbaijan. We have offered peace ourselves, we have done it several times. And the statements that Armenia has not responded are very strange. Armenia responded to those statements, Armenia said that we are ready. We also stressed that the goal of the negotiation format within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs is aimed at reaching a peace treaty. And we have said that yes, we are ready for those discussions, we imagine that these discussions should take place based on the results of the work done in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, in particular, with the inclusion of the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. We have clearly stated this position, we have said that we are ready. In general, we have adopted an agenda to open an era of peaceful development. We received the mandate to open that era from our people as a result of the extraordinary parliamentary elections. We have also recorded it in the Government Action Plan. We have also responded to the mediators, we have publicly responded that, yes, we are ready for peace talks.

Petros Ghazaryan – So we see the signing of that treaty in the sideline sof the Minsk Group?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – Not the signing, because the signing must take place between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Petros Ghazaryan – The process?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – We see the negotiation process in the sidelines of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs’ format.

Petros Ghazaryan - By the way, there was an announcement that the foreign ministers met within this format, then the Co-chairs announced that they plan a visit to the region, and so far there is no concrete action. Why?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - Yes, recently, last week or this week, a delegation from the United States arrived in Armenia, including the US Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Andrew Schofer. I asked why the visit has not taken place so far, and he said that they are working on organizing the visit. And I think, yes, time has passed, it could have already happened. I presume there are some obstacles from the Azerbaijani side.

Petros Ghazaryan – Much is talked about delimitation and demarcation. Mr. Prime Minister, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, they are ready to assist. Interestingly, both Azerbaijan and Armenia declare that they are ready for this process. First, are there any concrete agreements? And we, the Armenian society, are concerned that Azerbaijan is trying to de jure get Artsakh as part of it by that process. Because if we recognize their borders, Artsakh automatically becomes part of Azerbaijan.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - We have clearly stated that the process of demarcation and delimitation, the process of settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, the process of opening regional communications are clearly separated from each other. This is our position and, in fact, this is what we have recorded.

As for the issue of demarcation and delimitation of borders, back in May, you may remember, I announced at the Government session that I am ready to sign the document proposed by the Russian Federation on demarcation and delimitation. And do you remember what an internal political uproar arose, then a document was published with closed lines, then, when those lines were already opened, it turned out that in general, the moment of signing that document was lost, it was missed. Because, yes, we are not only ready, but we consider the demarcation and delimitation of borders necessary. But, on the other hand, we say that it is very difficult to imagine the process of demarcation or delimitation of a border where ceasefire violations take place every day.

By the way, let’s consider this in the context of the answer to your first question, because we must state that ceasefire violations take place at the border every day. Now we can say that the average number of ceasefire violations is quite low, but we must state that they take place practically every day. You know, we have had maybe 5-6 days since November 9, when no ceasefire violations were reported. Can you imagine only 5-6 days in a year? The ceasefire is being violated on a daily basis in Artsakh, although in recent period we have had several days in Artsakh, in the previous week we had 1-2 days, when there were 0 cases of ceasefire violations.

But by and large, the ceasefire is being violated on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border every day. Therefore, it is very difficult to imagine the process of delimitation and demarcation of the border where shootings take place every day. We consider it important to ensure conditions for demarcation and delimitation. And we have recorded about the need to provide those conditions several times in the past, including in the Government's Action Plan. I want to emphasize that this need is also emphasized in the Government's Action Plan. And yes, we consider it important and necessary. But at the moment, in the conditions of daily violations of the ceasefire regime, it is very difficult, although we continue consultations in that direction. To your specific question, are there any concrete agreements, I have to answer that, unfortunately, no.

Petros Ghazaryan - And since the process can go on, do we have any idea of maps of which year we are talking about, do we have those maps or not?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – We should understand what we mean saying a map. Because our observations have shown that the maps are re-prints. Look, we say a map of 1985, map of 1980, 1975, 1973, those maps are mainly re-prints, because since they are paper-based documents, they get worn and from time to time were re-printed.

The legal grounds are important – on what legal grounds did the border demarcation and delimitation take place on the border between Soviet Armenia and Soviet Azerbaijan? In general, what is the legal basis for demarcating, defining the borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan? Because the legal basis is registered on the map, but I must emphasize that, yes, all those reprinted maps are not identical. Why? Because there was such a tradition during the Soviet Union and not only a tradition. For example, on the occasion of an anniversary of the Communist Party, the fraternal republics donated territories to each other. By the way, this was done at the local level, for example, a certain region donates some hectares of pasture from this or that place. Our preliminary study shows that this happened mainly on the principle of reciprocity. And now it is very important to understand those legal bases. And by saying a map we do not mean a drawing on paper. We mean its legal substantiation, because the map is meaningless without legal substantiation.

Petros Ghazaryan - But if we are talking about so-called administrative donations in the Soviet Union, what legal basis can be here?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - It is necessary to understand on what legal basis they took place, to what extent those legal bases relate to the topic. But, in general, we have come to the conclusion that all the maps, that is, the legal bases, are the legal bases that were agreed between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the 1920s and 1930s. That is, we have to finally go to them. We need maps - there is a practical issue here - that the arrangements mentioned in the text are reflected on the maps. This is the work that needs to be done.

Petros Ghazaryan – Mr. Prime Minister, much is talked about 3+3 format. The Russian Federation is talking about it, Turkey and Azerbaijan are talking about it as well, they officially agree, Georgia not so much, and Armenia does not have a position yet. What prevents us from taking a stand? What is our attitude to this issue?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - In fact, two days ago, Armenia, our Government at the level of the Deputy Foreign Minister, expressed a position in this regard, and our position is the following. I would like to emphasize that the regional cooperation is emphasized as a key provision in the Government's Action Plan, we have been interested in all the possibilities of regional cooperation from the very beginning. The issue is in nuances. Our stance is the following, the possible 3+3 format shouldn’t have the kind of items on its agenda which we are already discussing in other formats in agreed terms. In particular, the issue of opening regional communications, the issue of the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, and so on. In other words, if that format brings a new agenda, a mutually acceptable agenda, for example, the study of economic transit opportunities in the region, it can be very interesting, we can be interested in it.

Petros Ghazaryan – So we can say the formula is the following, if there is the Minsk Group, where Artsakh issue is being discussed…

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – If there is an agreed format, the agenda of that format should not be discussed in other formats. Because it may turn out that the 3+3 format is not the only format that we are interested in. And of course, we have expressed and express this position.

Petros Ghazaryan – Let’s move to another issue. Erdoğan announced recently that a discussion has taken place between you and Aliyev and that you have discussed those issues. Has there been any such meeting or not?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – Of course, not. See what it all can be about. During this period, you know that we are accepting many diplomatic missions, also contacts are taking place between the Azerbaijani and Armenian officials. In particular, our Foreign Ministers met in New York, there is a trilateral working group, which holds regular meetings, foreign diplomatic missions arrive in Yerevan and Baku. Naturally, they bring messages, they convey messages, and a conversation, a mediated one, yes, it has always happened and it always happens between all countries. There is nothing surprising here.

Petros Ghazaryan – You mean mediated contacts?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – Yes, sure. All the direct contacts that have taken place, the public, you all know about them. The rest of the communication is already indirect, in the form of messages, sending messages, which takes place through various channels.

Petros Ghazaryan - Mr. Prime Minister, one year has passed since the ceasefire, our society expects answers to some important questions. What military mistakes did we make? After all, during the war it was obvious that there were, you have stated many times, have we been able to find out the most important, key issues? What criminal cases and culprits are there that resulted in what happened?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – As for the criminal cases, it has already been announced that there are nearly 1000 criminal cases relating to the war. At the moment I can say that there are nearly 40 culprits and there are also detained people. The number of detainees with the army-related cases is approaching one dozen. I think there will be cases that will go to court.

Individual episodes have to be considered, they should also receive a legal assessment, but we must understand that this is only tip of the iceberg. What mistakes have taken place? For example, we have had fundamental problems in army-building. By the way, I think these fundamental problems refer to all of us, the army has, in fact, been inviolable for many years. It is true that there were alarms about the failings and abuses in the army, but usually the authors of those alarms were considered, let’s say, unconstructive, anti-national, etc., but in the end, what happened is the tip side of the iceberg.

How did the army develop for many years, how was the army budget formed and how was that budget spent? These are very important questions that ultimately predetermined the actions on the military stage. The breach between the announcements and the reality, for example, the Security Council is reported that the army is able to keep the front line with the logic of "no step back", but in practice this does not happen. These are issues that need to be studied very seriously, but from a systemic point of view we have to say that we have, in fact, failed the army-building work in the sense that the army must have met the challenges that existed around the Republic of Armenia. And we see the development of defense budgets in Azerbaijan and Armenia. All this, in the end, was reflected in specific areas, in specific positions, with specific phenomena and manifestations. In particular, I would like to mention an important nuance, for example, the work with the reservists. For many years, in fact, the mobilization of reservists in Armenia has not taken place at the proper level. In 2019, we carried out the largest mobilization in the history of Armenia. Even now we continue that logic of the work of the mobilization resource, but we must state that this work had not been done for many years. Why? It’s incomprehensible?

Petros Ghazaryan – Mr. Prime Minister, how do you assess the combat readiness of our army, considering the blows we received and how do you assess our arsenal, let’s say the replenishment of the losses? In what situation are we now?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – I would not like to provide much details about that topic. I have to say that our army is at a reforms stage. And we are determined to carry out those reforms aimed at establishing a professional army in the Republic of Armenia, the main essence of which is based exclusively on the defense logic. We have stated in the Government's Action Plan that Armenia does not intend to carry out any military attack. The Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia must adequately defend the territory of the Republic of Armenia and borders from possible aggression. This is our goal.

Petros Ghazaryan - The opposition criticizes the program of your government, and the ideology you proclaim - the agenda of peace. They say, look, if the neighbors increase their military expenditure, they do not change the rhetoric, they want to snatch something more from you, and you are talking about peace, it is like saying do whatever you want, just do not hit us. And it is a defeatist thinking, when they want to oppress you, you say, let's live in peace. It is a non-working model leading Armenia to nowhere. What’s your comment?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – We have developed our agenda in the following way – opening an era of peaceful development for the Republic of Armenia and the region. This agenda is not about preaching peace when we are attacked. I already said that the reforms of the Armed Forces and the army and endowing it with proper defense capabilities are among our priorities and we will continue to go that way.

But, on the other hand, it is a very important political direction to create a favorable environment around Armenia, as I have said before, to try to overcome the atmosphere of hostility, because the deeper the atmosphere of hostility, it will eventually lead to cataclysms. This is obvious: trying to control the atmosphere of hostility is a very important agenda which we must push forward. What does it mean?

We should try to establish cooperation in the areas where it is possible. This is particularly about the opening of regional communications. And where cooperation is impossible, we should try to keep hostility and hostile atmosphere under control and try to create maximally favorable atmosphere around the Republic of Armenia and Artsakh, trying to make our positions more comprehensible and acceible for the international community and the regional countries. This is a direction that we have to push forward. I reiterate, this does not mean, the peace agenda is not about preaching peace when we are under attack. The peace agenda is about trying to open an era of peaceful development for Armenia and the region.

Petros Ghazaryan – Mr. Prime Minister, you are in the process, your hand is on the pulse. Do you think those channels will be opened in the future or not? It seems to me that any TV viewer who is sitting now says, in the end, will they open or not?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – The roads or the peace era?

Petros Ghazaryan – They are interconnected.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – The problem is just there, that we say era of peaceful development, but we all know that it cannot depend only on us. It is very important what positions the potential beneficiaries will have, because this agenda also depends on their position. We are trying to do just that, to make this agenda not only for the Republic of Armenia, but also for the other countries of the region, to make it the agenda of the international community, from the point of view of their policy pursued in the South Caucasus. We must, for example, understand that achievements can be the result of work, that is, results come from work. The question is whether we want to work in that direction or not. If everything was guaranteed ...

Petros Ghazaryan – We would sit down and wait.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – Of course, look, we would not sit down and wait, because there would be no need to wait, the guarantee would start to work. The entire issue is here. Are we going to make efforts in that direction or not? And this does not mean we must forget about the agenda of the defense capability of Armenia or any other agenda.

Petros Ghazaryan – If I am not mistaken, the opposition will organize a rally tomorrow, on November 8, and they have one agenda. That is not to allow to surrender Artsakh and come closer to Turkey, “No to Turkization” is their slogan. Mr. Prime Minister, how would you comment?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – We have clearly expressed our position. This is absolutely groundless agenda that has nothing in common with the reality. What does it mean “not to be turkified”?

Petros Ghazaryan – Probably that you want normal relations with Turkey.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – I am sorry, but very many of the potential participants of that same rally had the agenda of improving relations with Turkey when they were in power. They made attempts, steps in that direction. Does this mean that at that time they pursued the policy of turkification? Development of relations with Turkey has always been on the agenda of Armenia.

As for Nagorno Karabakh, we have clearly stated our position, we have recorded it in the Government's Action Plan, I said that we see the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict through the format of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, with the content proposed by them. I would like to remind you that after November 9, 2020, the Co-Chairs issued a statement, recording the need to immediately resume the negotiation process on the basis of well-known principles and elements.

Petros Ghazaryan – Mr. Prime Minister, one of our most painful issues is the return of prisoners of war. What perspective do you see here?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - We must work tirelessly for the quick return of our brothers. And we do so. Work is being done on this direction every day. Yes, we must state that this work is being done despite the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020, and we must work with our international partners, the international community, and we must work with Azerbaijan so that this problem can be solved as soona s possible.

Petros Ghazaryan – The media wrote, then deniedm then again wrote. Is there any meeting scheduled on November 9? Yes or no? And if there is, what’s the agenda?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - I can say that at this moment there is no agreement to hold a meeting on November 9. During the previous question and answer session, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said from the parliamentary tribune that there are many ideas and proposals. We have said that we are not against meetings, but the context of those meetings, the symbolism of those meetings, the potential result expected from those statements are very important.

I will tell you the following: wherever we can register any result, we will not decline any meeting, but we are not in favor of holding meetings as an end in itself. Regarding November 9 in particular, I can say that there is no such agreement at the moment.

Petros Ghazaryan - When will a National Assembly commission be set up to investigate the causes and results of the war? You probably know that the opposition has stated that if the proportionality is violated there, and if the extra-parliamentary forces come, they may boycott and not participate.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – But why?

Petros Ghazaryan – Because the power balance will be violated.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – Are we talking about power balance here or revealing the truth? Finally, there will be a substantive discussion, where no one can forbid anyone else to express his opinion. And if there is a forgery, point out that forgery and prove the existence of that forgery.

The next question about when the commission will be set up. In fact, here is why the commissionhas not ben set up so far.

Petros Ghazaryan – Why?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – For a very simple reason. First of all, the commission is created in practice, because according to the law on "National Assembly Rules of Procedure", the role of the commission of inquiry in the security sphere will be performed by the same parliamentary commission on security and defense. This means the commission already exists. Why hasn't it been created yet? Because, first of all, not all of the opposition MPs have applied and received permission to deal with state top secret materials. There is a procedure provided by law for that, and most of the materials will be discussed there in strict secrecy regime.

Secondly, you know that we have an agreement that the extra-parliamentary forces must be involved, the representatives of the relatives of the victims and the missing must be involved. According to the current law, there is no such procedure for directly including into a commission. And now options are being considered on how to involve them, with their consent, because the balance you mentioned, in fact, cannot be violated, because the committee acts in accordance with the "National Assembly Rules of Procedure" law, where decisions are made according to the "National Assembly Rules of Procedure" law. If we are talking about balance, one way or another, the Government has a majority there in any case.

Petros Ghazaryan - But the atmosphere is important, because the names that are circulated, Samvel Babayan, Davit Sanasaryan, Norayr Norikyan, they are, let’s say, more or less anti-opposition.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – How did those names emerge? You know that there is a format of extra-parliamentary forces. The issue was raised in that format, I said that we have a political decision to include representatives, please, decide who they are. They suggested that there should be 3 representatives, without mentioning names, I said we have no problem, I suggested that they should elect 3 people. A voting took place, 3 people were elected. In other words, according to the agreement, we must ensure the involvement of extra-parliamentary forces.

But one way or another, the balance in the commission cannot be violated, because we cannot grant people with the status of an MP. Yes, they will fully participate in the work of the commission, and they will be free to express views, opinions, ask questions. But now look, here is the problem. According to the law on "National Assembly Rules of Procedure", the commission of inquiry must operate for 6 months, it can be extended for another 6 months. Now we do not want to spend these 6 months on these purely technical procedural issues. In other words, we want to complete these procedural issues, and the commission, from the first day of its de jure existence, will deal with the main topic, in order to maintain that 6-month period.

Of course, theoretically we can make an amendment to the law on "National Assembly Rules of Procedure", extend it, but it is also important that the term of activity of that commission should not be unlimitted, because you said that the public expects answers. I must say that I am personally very interested in hearing those answers, and I expect that not only the military, the episodes of the war should be examined, which is also very important. The issue of army building, which I mentioned, must also be examined. I want the commission to finally answer one question. For example, I say that after 2018, when I was elected Prime Minister, there was not a single case when the army said we need this, and we say, you know what, there is no money for it. There was not a single case.

And you know, the so much speculated Su-30SMs are the brightest proof of that. The army said, we need it. Moreover, this is very important. I received a few writs saying you should not get it and etc. I put my signature under those writs, I said, you know what, there is a professional body, discuss, give an answer, finally, is it necessary or not? They discussed and gave a written answer that yes, it is necessary. I said if it’s necessary, we will purchase them. I want the commission of inquiry to answer that question. I want, I expect, I think the public also, the commission of inquiry to study the negotiation process, the whole negotiation process, starting from the 1994 ceasefire, after the victory.

Petros Ghazaryan – Why?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - Because if we do not study it, we can not understand what happened. After all, what happened? It is very important for me that the situation over the negotiation process we inherited in 2018 should be recorded. And it does not even matter how we inherited it. What happened in the negotiation process? Because if we do not go deeper, we cannot understand what happened.

Petros Ghazaryan – The opposition expects that your actions will be discussed with the same strictness.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – Who says the opposite? Let them first discuss our actions with all severity, there is no problem, who is against it? And the signal that we can boycott, first of all, is that they refuse to take part in the investigation of our own actions, in the strictest way, because they know very well what will happen as a result of that investigation. In the end, they say secret, secret, but, in fact, there is not much secret, there is some secret in the details, because a lot has been said publicly, and they have shaped that content. And why do they deny when in the fall of 2017 the number one negotiator of Armenia said that we are ready to surrender the 7 regions, but Azerbaijan puts forward new demands every time. Let's find out what happened.

Petros Ghazaryan – One more nuance. Has the issue over those Su-30SMs been solved?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – What do you mean?

Petros Ghazaryan – Do we continue to develop it or not?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – Of course, we should continue.

Petros Ghazaryan – Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – Thank you. I would like to add 1-2 sentences. November 9 marks the first anniversary, I want to bow in front of all our martyrs, all our victims, offer my condolences to the families of the victims and I want to convey my words of solidarity to the families of our captive brothers and they should never doubt that we make all possible efforts every day for their return, and there are no doubts that they will all return.

Petros Ghazaryan – Thank you. Dear TV viewers, our guest was Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, or rather we were hosted by him. We discussed the November 9 declaration, all the domestic and foreign policy issues in post-November 9 period. We will continue to follow the processes closely. Goodbye.

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