YEREVAN — In a televised address to his nation on Sunday, PM Nikol Pashinyan declared that Armenia’s defense apparatus has failed to ensure the country’s national interests and security in recent years.
“The attacks carried out by Azerbaijan against the Republic of Armenia in recent years lead to an obvious conclusion that the external security systems in which we are involved are not effective from the point of view of the state interests and security of the Republic of Armenia,” Pashinyan said.
He then questioned the role and motives of the Russian peacekeeper contingent in Karabakh and said that if immediate measures aren’t taken to ensure the safety of Karabakh Armenians they will be left with no alternative but to leave their historic homeland given Azerbaijan’s policy of ethnic cleansing.
“Azerbaijan, which has adopted the policy of ethnic cleansing, and the peacekeeping troops of the Russian Federation in Nagorno-Karabakh would bear full responsibility for such a course of events,” he said.
Pashinyan said Armenia is working with its international partners to create international mechanisms to guarantee the rights and security of Karabakh Armenians, adding that Armenia will accept and care for all those who chose to leave Karabakh.
In an apparent reference to Russia, Pashinyan said Armenia has never betrayed its “allies” or its obligations with those allies, adding that some allies of Armenia have called into question the country’s sovereignty and independence.
“Some of our partners are making more and more efforts to expose our security vulnerabilities, now putting not only our external but also internal security and stability at risk, violating the ethics of diplomatic, interstate relations in the process,” Pashinyan stated.
Pashinyan said his administration is determined to strengthen Armenia’s sovereignty and democracy and called on international partners to assist in this effort.
Pashinyan said Armenia intends to ratify the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court (ICC) since it will serve as an international platform to strengthen Armenia’s security given that Armenia-Russia military pacts and Armenia’s membership in CSTO weren’t adequate to ensure Armenia’s security.
He said Armenia’s ratification of the Rome Statute isn’t directed at Moscow, but rather serves Armenia’s national interests.
Pashinyan concluded by saying Armenia’s citizens must chose whether to live in a sovereign, independent country or as “fearful residents of far-flung province”.
While he didn’t directly refer to ongoing street protests calling for his resignation following Azerbaijan’s September 19 military offensive that effectively cemented Baku’s control over all of Artsakh, Pashinyan clearly believes those calling for regime change are tacitly supporting Moscow’s efforts to undermine Armenia’s independence and security.