Statements and messages of the Prime Minister of RA

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's concluding speech in the National Assembly at the discussion of the annual report on the execution of the state budget 2023


more 9 photos

Honorable President of the National Assembly,
Dear Vice Presidents,
Dear members of the National Assembly,
Dear representatives of the executive and judiciary,

Although we are discussing the 2023 budget execution report, due to the known circumstances, I must first refer to yesterday's events and record that there was an attack on the police by the participants of the movement led by the Catholicos of All Armenians and Robert Kocharyan. The police response was lawful and professional, and in all similar cases the police will act in the same way. Demonstrators tried to force their way through the police cordon to attack the country's highest legislative body. The police defended the legislative institute of the Republic of Armenia, the police defended the statehood of Armenia, moreover, some time before the attack, someone with the title of bishop addressed the police and said, "Guys, take off your helmets, because nothing threatens you." In a while, the same person organized throwing of stones in the direction of those boys. This is all there is to know about the moral profile of two high-ranking officials of the Armenian Apostolic Church. 18 police officers and 83 citizens were injured. All injuries were mild to moderate. At the moment, 16 people are hospitalized, that is, the rest, after receiving medical care, went home. Everyone's condition is assessed as satisfactory. Yesterday in this hall they showed me a picture and tried to convince me that the citizen's hand was torn off, while it was obvious that there was no such thing, the citizen underwent a surgery and three of his fingers were amputated, for which I express my sorrow. But it was also evident from the videos that the citizen himself picked up from the ground the sound bomb thrown by the police and it exploded in his hand, that is, if he hadn't taken it, something like this would not have happened.

The instigators of the mass riots that took place must be brought to justice. I said it yesterday, and I want to say it again today, that you cannot build legitimacy on pity, you cannot build a legal system on pity, you cannot build a state. As someone who spent a year and eleven months in four penitentiaries, I can tell you that there are many stories related to all the people there - personal stories, stories of personal tragedies - that can make you feel remorse and even cry. But we have to make a choice: we want to cry or we want to build a state. The two cannot be combined. Unfortunately, we all too often make the choice in favor of crying, because underneath every occasion there is a story that by and large, yes, can make you cry. But, I say again, our choice is clear: we want to cry or we want to build a state?

I also want to say that we have not been and will not be a weak government, we will be and are loving, compassionate, helpful, supportive, tolerant, but never a weak government, because a weak government is a disaster for the state. We have not been and will not be a weak government and we will take all the necessary measures to protect the state, society, democracy, independence and sovereignty with the power of legitimacy, law and legality. Here, I hope, there is no misconception.

Returning to the discussions on the 2023 budget execution report, let's first record what the opposition is saying, what is their main thesis after all. The opposition claims that since the policies conducted by the government today in a number of cases, according to them, contradict the Government Action Plan 2021-2026, then the government should resign and for this they cite several concrete examples. Those examples were raised yesterday, I recorded all of them, for example, the situation created around the CSTO, or the issue related to the self-determination and status of Nagorno Karabakh, which are referred to in the Government's Action Plan for 2021-2026.

Now, why do we disagree with the opposition's statements, here, let me show you with those two specific examples that they mentioned, which is actually a very important conversation.

What did we write about CSTO in the Government's Action Plan? "Armenia will continue to be actively involved in the work of the structure and work towards the improvement and application of collective security mechanisms of the contractual and document base, which will best reflect and serve the interests and joint goals of the member states." We have said that we will be actively involved and will work towards the improvement and application of collective security mechanisms. If we translate from the diplomatic language, we wrote that we have questions related to CSTO mechanisms and we should pursue the answers to those questions, with the aim of checking these answers from the point of view of the state interests of our country. By the way, we wrote this in the summer of 2021, in an environment when the invasion of Azerbaijani troops had already taken place in the Sotk-Khoznavar sector. And before that invasion, we had received an assurance from our CSTO partners that the border of Armenia is a red line for the organization and its allies. But already at that moment, when the invasion of May 12, 2021 was not followed by CSTO's proper response, we already very gently questioned at least the effectiveness of CSTO in the Government's Action Plan. And after writing and recording it, we started very specific work: negotiations, discussions, meetings, even the CSTO summit in Yerevan, as a result of which we realized that the CSTO, the duty of which is to protect the territorial integrity of Armenia, refuses to fulfill its responsibilities.

In November 2022, at the CSTO Yerevan Summit, we refused to sign the CSTO documents that did not meet the interests of Armenia, and we did this in fulfillment of the Government's Action Plan, not in opposition to it, but in fulfillment of it. I will quote from the Action Plan again. "Armenia will continue to be actively involved in the work of the organization, the CSTO, and work towards the improvement and application of the collective security mechanisms of the treaty and document base, which will best reflect and serve the interests and joint goals of the member states." In other words, what is the opposition saying? Should we meekly sign the papers that did not correspond to the Government's Action Plan and the interests of our country, that questioned our sovereignty and territorial integrity? And should we resign for not doing so?

To justify this, the opposition refers to the Constitution, Article 146 of which reads: "The government develops and implements the domestic and external policies of the state based on its program." Regarding the above-mentioned episode, as for the CSTO, the government did exactly what was written in the Constitution. Based on the Action Plan, we have developed and are implementing the policy, for example, in relation to CSTO. We develop and implement a policy to solve the problems presented in the Action Plan, and this policy started with active engagement, based on the summary of its results, we reached the point of freezing the membership. In other words, the Constitution does not say that you should not use your information obtained as a result of policy development stemming from that Action Plan. And the next logical step, I say again, will be leaving the organization. I want to remind you that in 2021-2026 Action Plan we did not to say that we will remain a CSTO member, we have not said such a thing. We have said that we have questions, and will pursue their answers. We will decide when it will take place, maybe in a month, maybe in a year, maybe three years.

One of the heads of the CSTO member states announces that he participated in the preparation of the 44-day war, encouraged, believed and wished for the victory of Azerbaijan. After that, should I go and sit with the president of Belarus in the CSTO format and discuss any issue? Aren't you the one talking about dignity, principles, etc.? Although there is also a situation that I will have to do that in some way in the sidelines of the EAEU and the CIS, but I also want to say the following: I record that I will never visit Belarus as long as Alexander Lukashenko is the president of Belarus. And in general, I announce that from now on, no official representative of the Republic of Armenia will visit Belarus.

Regarding the CSTO, can anything change the situation? Theoretically it cannot be ruled out if, for example, Belarus decides to withdraw from the CSTO or the president of Belarus says words of apology and explanation that will be acceptable to the people of Armenia.

Returning to the Constitution, I want to say that all grounds for the resignation of the government are described in the Constitution. The cases of the change of government in the country is written in the Constitution. And what the opposition is saying are not present in those grounds, there is no such case described in the Constitution. And this is logical, because if, for example, the Government's Action Plan speaks about improvement of Armenia-Belarus relations, it means that, if we follow the logic of the opposition, Belarus can decide the fate of the Armenian government. For example, it can say that it doesn't like Armenia's government, and does not want to improve the relations with Armenia, and on the contrary, wants to worsen the relations with Armenia and by that achieve a change in the government. In other words, the interpretation made by the opposition means undermining the country's sovereignty, independence and stability. It means that in this concrete example, it can give a foreign country a 100 percent leverage when it wants to change the government in the country. Is this their logic? I am not surprised, because their logic is anti-state, anti-sovereign, anti-democratic.

The government has acted in the same principled way regarding the self-determination and status of Nagorno-Karabakh. What have we done? We have recorded the issue of self-determination and status of Nagorno-Karabakh in our pre-election program and the Government's Action Plan and have pursued the implementation of that program. What is the first step in this? First, we delved into the issue in order to turn these theses from a slogan into a problem to be solved. This is a very important moment, we delved into the issue in order to get out of slogan logic, that is, not to get out, but to develop and go after the practical solution of the problem. Through international negotiations, discussions, and debates, we have come to the idea that our ideas about self-determination and status seem to be in conflict not with the international perception, but with the international consensus. In other words, here we are in the situation where the Republic of Armenia is against the whole world. We tried to explore this feeling and fact and we reached the Lisbon Summit of December 3, 1996. And recorded that at the Lisbon summit of December 3, 1996, a consensus minus one situation was formed, where minus one is the Republic of Armenia. And the international community said that the issue of Nagorno Karabakh should be resolved on the basis of the right to self-determination, and Nagorno Karabakh should receive a high self-governing status within Azerbaijan.

I've been talking about this for so long, in fact, I did a little poll yesterday among people in my circle and environment to find out if they are familiar with the document I've been referring to for 2 years now. And then I was surprised to note that that document, which is the internationally accepted constitution for the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh problem, has not been read in our reality. I do not rule out that when we do a survey, it turns out that just six expert people in the Republic of Armenia have read this paper, plus another 20, 30, 40, 50 people.

I don't want to create an awkward situation, but it's just interesting, for example, who in the hall has read that paper? But I record with surprise, but now I am not saying this for the sake of statistics, I will now read that paper, which is the statement of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office based on the results of the 1996 OSCE Summit, and at that time he was the Foreign Minister of Switzerland. I am quating the statemenet of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office. “You all know that no progress has been achieved in the last two years to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the issue of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan “. Pay attention: the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the issue of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan have not been resolved. “I regret that the efforts of the Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Conference to reconcile the views of the parties on the principles for a settlement have been unsuccessful. Three principles which should form part of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were recommended by the Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Group. These principles are supported by all member States of the Minsk Group. They are: - territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia and the Azerbaijan Republic; - legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh defined in an agreement based on self-determination which confers on Nagorno-Karabakh the highest degree of self-rule within Azerbaijan; - guaranteed security for Nagorno-Karabakh and its whole population, including mutual obligations to ensure compliance by all the Parties with the provisions of the settlement. I regret that one participating State could not accept this. These principles have the support of all other participating States. This statement will be included in the Lisbon Summit documents“.

There is a nuance that I have not talked about until now, today is the first time, it is about self-government, not about autonomy. Do you understand? This is the internationally accepted constitution for the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh problem. And what does this mean? This means that in the Armenian reality, the concept of self-determination of Nagorno Karabakh was misunderstood, the concept of the status of Nagorno Karabakh was misunderstood. Both of them meant that Nagorno Karabakh should be part of Azerbaijan. And in the Armenian reality, all this was misunderstood, because the Armenian public did not have access to that document since 1996, do you understand, there was no Internet in 1996, there may have been Internet, in a different sense, there was not even normal e-mail, there were no social networks. And what happened in these conditions? The following happened: the clerical-feudal elite of Armenia deceived and misled the people of Armenia in order to seize and hold the power. This is the whole truth about Nagorno Karabakh. This is the whole truth: the clerical-feudal elite, hiding and manipulating the Lisbon document, used the Nagorno-Karabakh issue to seize and hold power in Armenia. Let's look at the timeline: December 3, 1996: OSCE Lisbon summit, June 10, 1997: Robert Kocharyan is appointed the Prime Minister of Armenia, November 1, 1997: Levon Ter-Petrosyan publishes "War or peace? Time to get serious" article, February 3, 1998: Levon Ter-Petrosyan resigns and hands over power to Robert Kocharyan.

Here I want to make an important observation and that observation is as follows: after 2020, the statements of Levon Ter-Petrosyan and the political force led by him changed at least my understanding of the article "War or peace. Time to get serious", since recent statements by Levon Ter-Petrosyan, attempts to unite the clerical-feudal elite, as well as a number of statements show that this article was in fact not an unsuccessful attempt to counter the clerical-feudal lie, but was an integral part of the clerical-feudal lie. Why? Because Ter-Petrosyan and the ANC say that they did not say or mean that the territories should be returned, or that they did not say that the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh is impossible. This is clearly part of the clerical-feudal lie.

Returning to the issues related to the self-determination and status of Nagorno Karabakh in the Government's Action Plan, what have we done to address these issues? After acknowledging the above-mentioned, we came and said from the parliamentary podium that we should lower the bar of our ideas on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. And we said that this is necessary for aligning our ideas with the international community's, because we cannot continue to live in a consensus-minus-one regime. And yes, I also admitted yesterday that it was my biggest mistake and biggest failure that I didn't do it in 2018, even though I said yesterday that I wouldn't dare to say that, because we're in that clerical-feudal deception, for 30 years they have been saying, constantly, wherever they went, they said Karabakh, self-determination, status. First of all, I would not dare to say all that, although I say again, a statesman should have seen it, overcome it, and done it.

Secondly, even if I dared, no one would let me to continue. By the way, during my speech in 2022, in order to clarify this issue, I suggested that a representative delegation from Nagorno-Karabakh come to a meeting with me, so that I present my ideas to them behind closed doors, and answer their questions and concerns. I had told all parliamentary factions, all parties, representatives of state bodies to come to the meeting. As a result, they discussed in Nagorno-Karabakh and sent two people, I met with two people who, based on the result of the conversation, did not express any reservations about my ideas. I explained to them clearly what was happening and why. And I remember, one of today's participants in the opposition rallies was among those two, I was very impressed by the fact that when we talked, he said two words when saying good bye, one in English, one in Russian, in response to what I said, "ok", "держись(stand firm)". But in the future, Nagorno-Karabakh, despite this situation, not only did not lower the bar of its ideas, but on the contrary, it hardened its position even more. By the way, as for our traditional ideas, which were discussed here again yesterday, when they say that in negotiations you should demand the maximum in order to get something acceptable. This is a misconception because when you start negotiations with the highest bar, the only thing you can do afterwards is to lower the bar because you have no room to raise it. This is what happened to us throughout the Nagorno Karabakh negotiation process. We have always set the highest bar in the negotiation process from the very beginning and we didn't understand that we have registered our defeat because when your bar is at the highest point, you can't do anything else but lower the bar, because you have reached the ceiling, you can't raise it anymore. This is what happened in Nagorno-Karabakh and with the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. We have done everything to address the issue of the status and self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh in accordance with international ideas. But the clerical-feudal elite of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, with external influence and instructions, did everything to prevent this from happening. And its culmination was forcing the resignation of the president of Nagorno-Karabakh, Arayik Harutyunyan, which was something to be celebrated by the clerical-feudal elite of Armenia and Karabakh. Shortly after this, forced emigration was imposed on the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, and the ethnic cleansing by Azerbaijan was supported by the feudal elite of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Even in September 2023, we did not give up our plans regarding Nagorno Karabakh and we said that for this it is necessary for Armenians to stay in Nagorno Karabakh. And this was obvious. I mentioned yesterday, you remember that episode, that, including in those emotional situations, giving in to that blackmail, even within our team I was constantly told that we should get the people out as soon as possible. I called, I told them: listen, it can always be done, withdrawal means closing the Nagorno Karabakh issue. But the clerical-feudal elite of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, together with their CSTO sponsors, closed the Nagorno-Karabakh issue in the hope that it would help them close the Republic of Armenia issue as well, by establishing a puppet government in the Republic of Armenia and effectively ending Armenia's independence. It didn't work and it won't work. Many people are talking about the fact that the government has written in its plan that Armenia will be the guarantor of the security of Nagorno Karabakh. Yes, Armenia, our government, before and after 2020, supported in everything that Nagorno Karabakh needed. Only after 2020, we given more than one billion dollars to Nagorno Karabakh. I say again, what they needed, they got. But those representatives of the clerical-feudal elite of Nagorno-Karabakh, who were drinking toasts and accusing us of treason, surrendered in 2 hours, 2 hours, dear colleagues. These people who accused us of treason, who sent audio messages to my press conferences through journalists, that we, our heroic clerical-feudal clan, will not give up and we are preparing to the end, are now distributing 5000 drams to bring people to Baghramyan Avenue. Those same people, the representatives of the elite who received the clerical-feudal blessing...

They surrendered in two hours, moreover, the weapons of several billion dollars, acquired at the cost of the hardships of the people of the Republic of Armenia, were handed over to Azerbaijan. One of the generals, who was screaming here yesterday, has come to change power in the Republic of Armenia, so as to hand over the Republic of Armenia to the Collective Security Treaty Organization like they did with Nagorno Karabakh. But I want to clearly say to the clerical-feudal elite: you cannot change the government in Armenia, because you are simply powerless in front of the legitimacy born from the people and fed by the people. Only the sovereign one, the people of the Republic of Armenia, can change the government in Armenia whenever they want. If they want to, they will do it, if they don't want to, they won't do it.

Glory to the martyrs
And long live the Republic of Armenia
And long live our children who will live in free and happy Armenia.
Thank you.

← Back to list