Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan participating in the Summit for Democracy -2023

WASHINGTON, DC — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is among 120 global leaders participating in the second Summit for Democracy organized by U.S. President Joe Biden and denounced by Russia.

The two-day virtual summit which began on Wednesday is designed to promote democratic governance around the world in the face of rising authoritarianism. Biden was due to pledge $690 million in U.S. government funding for democracy programs around the world.

“Worldwide, we see autocrats violating human rights and suppressing fundamental freedoms; corrupting — and with corruption eating away at young people’s faith in their future; citizens questioning whether democracy can still deliver on the issues that matter most to their lives,” The Associated Press quoted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken as saying at a pre-summit virtual event on Tuesday.

Addressing the summit, Pashinyan insisted that his government “continues to implement a democratic reform agenda.”

“As a result of that, our country has improved its positions in various global rankings,” he said.

Pashinyan went on to mention the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and, in particular, Azerbaijan’s offensive military operations launched along the Armenian border last September.

“What is happening today to Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh: Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin corridor and the ensuing humanitarian crisis is nothing but an attempt to carry out ethnic cleansing of Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh”, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at the online Summit for Democracy today.

Full text of Pashinyan’s speech:

“Despite the global and regional challenges Armenia consistently continues to implement democratic reform agenda.

As a result of that our country improved its positions in various global rankings. The Freedom House has ranked Armenia as a “free” country in its annual report on the Net Freedom. Armenia has also recorded unprecedented progress in the 2022 World Press Freedom Index published by the Reporters without Borders improving its positions by 12 points. Last year Armenia improved its positions by 7 points in democracy index published by Economist Intelligence Unit.

The Government of Armenia continues tackling climate change for building a low-emission energy sector and a vibrant green economy. We have made progress in the international energy ranking, “Energy Trilemma Index 2021”, taking the 53rd place among 127 countries.

Along with strengthening the democratic institutions in our country, in September, 2022, we had to encounter an aggression against the internationally recognized territory of the Republic of Armenia, which resulted in the occupation of part of our sovereign territory by Azerbaijan.

It was back in September that we felt the union of democracies and the clear condemnation of aggression against Armenia. I want to take this opportunity and extend our gratitude to the United States and other partners that helped us stop the further incursion through diplomatic engagement.

Armenia feels strongly about the human rights violations across the world and there is a lot that we need to do together to prevent genocides, ethnic cleansings and atrocities. Whatever is happening with Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh today, the blockade of the Lachin corridor by Azerbaijan and the humanitarian crisis resulted by it, is definitely an attempt of ethnic cleansing of Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh. And we cannot turn a blind eye on that. At the same time, I reiterate that Armenia remains committed to the peace process with Azerbaijan. We are convinced that there is no alternative to the peaceful development of the region and that sticking to democratic values will help us find a way to peace.

Democracy is work in progress and we will proceed with new commitments by setting a new benchmark for Armenia in the global democratic rankings.

I believe in the power of democracy – for peace, for freedom, for happiness”.

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