During a press conference held on March 14, by Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, noteworthy statements were made in response to sharp questions from journalists, particularly those representing opposition media.
In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister acknowledged the challenges the country is facing but at the same time, he highlighted the economic achievements of the past year. The Prime Minister emphasized that the government’s key challenges continue to be external security in light of Azerbaijan’s attack on Armenian territory on September 13, of last year and the continuous threats by the Azeri leadership, and the situation surrounding Nagorno Karabakh making the prospect of another war a real possibility.
On the other hand, according to the prime minister favorable economic results were achieved. Pashinyan noted that 2022 was the year of large-scale monetary reforms, as a result of which economic growth of 12.6 percent was recorded, which was unprecedented during the last 15 years, the tax revenues of the state budget amounted to more than 5 billion dollars, and the number of new jobs created continued its growth.
Despite these accomplishments, Pashinyan acknowledged that the Revolution had not yet achieved all of its goals, but the effort to attain further goals will continue.
During the press conference, a great deal of time was devoted to security issues and the possibility of a new war. In this regard, Pashinyan emphasized that he concludes that Azerbaijan’s increasingly aggressive rhetoric and certain other data suggest that the danger of a new war is now quite high both on the border of Armenia and on the territory of Nagorno Karabakh, where in recent days Azerbaijani troops attacked Armenian positions killing three Armenian policemen.
American official sources have also been talking about the possibility of war in recent days. US intelligence services, presenting their annual report to Congress, warned that Azerbaijan is ready to use military pressure to achieve its goals in the negotiations with Armenia. In recent days, the spokesperson of the State Department, Ned Price, also spoke about such a danger, characterizing the situation on the Armenian-Azeri border as “delicate, prone to violence”.
Pashinyan discussed the arrival of European observers in Armenia to curb Aliyev’s aggression, but there was no mention of the use of military force to defend its territories. Until now Armenia has refrained from discussing issues related to the country’s military buildup and new arms purchases, although the Indian media and other sources have been reporting on new weapons acquisitions from that country. It is known that $1.2 billion has been allocated to the army in this year’s budget, which in itself is an unprecedented amount representing a 46 percent increase over funding earmarked for the country’s armed forces a year ago.
Based on the Prime Minister’s press conference one can conclude that at this time the probability of a new war is greater than the signing of a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan which the Armenian leadership was hoping for.