RFE/RL Armenian Report – 11/24/2021

                                        Wednesday, 


Top Russian Official Visits Azerbaijan, Armenia Ahead Of Sochi Talks


Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian (R) receives Russia’s Deputy Prime 
Minister Alexey Overchuk in Yerevan, .


Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk paid visits to Azerbaijan and 
Armenia on Wednesday to meet with the two countries’ leaders ahead of their 
talks to be hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin later this week.

Overchuk, who co-heads a Russian-Armenian-Azerbaijani working group dealing with 
regional unblocking, in Yerevan discussed prospects of restoring transport links 
in the South Caucasus with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, the latter’s 
press office said.

“The further course of the work carried out within the framework of the 
trilateral statement of January 11 [2021] was also on the agenda of the 
meeting,” the statement added.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko accompanied Overchuk at the 
meeting during which the two sides also reportedly discussed issues on the 
agenda of bilateral cooperation between Armenia and Russia.

Earlier on November 24 Overchuk was in Baku where he met with Azerbaijani 
President Ilham Aliyev.


Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev receives Deputy Prime Minister of Russia 
Alexey Overchuk. Baku, .

Quoting Aliyev’s press office, Azerbaijani media reported that during the 
meeting in Baku the two “exchanged views” on the activities of the trilateral 
working group and “expressed confidence that unblocking of transport links 
between Armenia and Azerbaijan soon will contribute to stability and economic 
development in the region.”

Restoration of economic and transport links in the region is one of the 
provisions of the Russia-brokered ceasefire agreement that stopped a 44-day 
Armenian-Azerbaijani war in Nagorno-Karabakh last November.

One year after signing the deal Azerbaijan and Armenia still appear to interpret 
differently its clause dealing with regional unblocking.

Aliyev has pushed for what he calls a Zangezur corridor that will link 
Azerbaijan with its western Nakhichevan exclave via Armenian territory, while 
Pashinian has rejected any ‘corridor logic’ behind the future regional 
unblocking, insisting that Armenia must not lose sovereignty over transport 
routes passing through its territory.

Visiting Yerevan earlier this month, Overchuk effectively backed Armenia’s 
position. “It seems to us that we are getting close to concrete decisions, which 
are first and foremost based on the notion that the countries will retain 
sovereignty over roads passing through their territory,” Russia’s deputy prime 
minister said during a meeting with Pashinian on November 5.

In a related development today Armenia’s Foreign Ministry reported about a phone 
call between Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Russian 
counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

It said that the two discussed issues related to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict 
and “the course of the implementation by the sides of their commitments under 
the trilateral statements.”

The meeting between the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan is due to be 
held in the Russian Black Sea resort town of Sochi on November 26.

Pashinian and Aliyev have also accepted the European Union’s offer to meet on 
the sidelines of the Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels on December 15.



Date Set For Siradeghian Funeral In Armenia


Armenia’s former Interior Minster Vano Siradeghian (file photo)


After nearly six weeks of uncertainty Armenian authorities have set a date for 
the funeral of Vano Siradeghian, a prominent politician and former interior 
minister who fled Armenia over two decades ago.

A government committee announced on Wednesday that a memorial service for 
Siradeghian will take place in the Opera House in Yerevan on December 3, while 
the late politician will be buried in his native village of Koti the next day.

Siradeghian was one of the leaders of a popular movement for Armenia’s 
unification with Nagorno-Karabakh who came to power in 1990. He became one of 
the newly independent country’s most powerful men when serving as interior 
minister in the administration of its first President Levon Ter-Petrosian from 
1992-1996.

One year after Ter-Petrosian resigned in 1998, Siradeghian was charged with 
ordering a string of contract killings. He strongly denied ordering those 
killings, saying that the charges were fabricated as part of then President 
Robert Kocharian’s efforts to neutralize his political foes.

Siradeghian fled Armenia in 2000 ahead of the Armenian parliament’s decision to 
allow law-enforcement authorities to arrest him. Although the authorities had 
Siradeghian placed on Interpol’s wanted list, his whereabouts always remained 
unknown to the public.

The death of the 74-year-old Siradeghian was announced by his wife and son on 
October 16. They did not specify its cause or reveal his last place of residence.

The Armenian government decided afterwards to form a commission that will 
organize his funeral.

During an online press conference on Tuesday Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian 
said: “I think that the commission will make decisions and the remains of Vano 
Siradeghian will be transported to Armenia.”

Siradeghian lived abroad under a new and false name, according to Khachatur 
Sukiasian, a wealthy businessman and pro-government parliamentarian who has long 
been close to the ex-minister.

This is why, Sukiasian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service in October, repatriating 
his body was fraught with some “difficulties”, including legal issues.

Throughout his exile Siradeghian continued to enjoy the strong backing of 
Ter-Petrosian and members of the ex-president’s entourage. Ter-Petrosian’s 
Armenian National Congress party has urged the Armenian authorities to allow 
Siradeghian’s family to bury him at the National Pantheon in Yerevan.



Armenian Opposition Lambasts Pashinian Over ‘Disgraceful’ Press Conference


The Armenian National Assembly in session (file photo)


Members of Armenia’s parliamentary opposition have strongly criticized Prime 
Minister Nikol Pashinian for holding what they described as a ‘disgraceful’ 
online press conference on Tuesday night.

Hayk Mamijanian, an MP from the opposition Pativ Unem faction, said that 
Pashinian often forgets that his statements are heard also outside Armenia. He 
claimed that many of the thoughts expressed by Pashinian yesterday “have made 
Armenia more vulnerable.”

“Taking into account the fact that questions for that online press conference 
were submitted in advance, he had an opportunity to do a little homework. But 
like a lazy student he failed to do that,” Mamijanian said.

Some of the questions addressed to Pashinian concerned his upcoming meetings 
with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Sochi and Brussels and issues of 
border delimitation and demarcation with Azerbaijan.

As for the nature of the document that Armenia and Azerbaijan may sign as a 
result of their talks, Pashinian said: “There is an impression that a paper will 
be signed on the results of border delimitation and demarcation. Such a thing is 
simply not possible. The potential document that will be signed will be about 
Armenia and Azerbaijan forming a commission to start dealing with delimitation 
and demarcation works. It will not be written in that document that the border 
passes through here or there.”

MP Artsvik Minasian from the opposition Hayastan faction said that he did not 
trust Pashinian’s statements. At the same time, the lawmaker stressed that 
regardless of what document will be signed, it must be brought to the National 
Assembly for ratification.



Armenian PM Receives Syunik’s Local Leaders


Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian receives heads of Syunik communities. 
.


The central government keeps problems of Syunik in the center of its attention, 
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said as he received leaders of major 
communities of the southern province in Yerevan on Wednesday.

“It is necessary to provide complete information on what is happening, why it is 
happening, on what to expect and what not to expect. We all should be able to 
clearly assess the realities, be able to distinguish between false information 
and true information,” Pashinian said.

The Armenian premier called for “harmonious work of all central and local 
government bodies on many internal and external issues.”

“Because it is about the protection of state and national interests,” Pashinian 
explained.

Pashinian, whose Civil Contract party lost in several key communities of Syunik 
during recent local elections, also stressed the importance of “citizens being 
sure that their vote counts.”

During the meeting attended by the mayors of Kapan, Meghri, Tegh, Tatev, Gorayk, 
Kajaran, Sisian as well as by the deputy mayor of Goris, Pashinian also 
addressed issues connected with expected economic and transport unblocking in 
the region and delimitation and demarcation of the border with Azerbaijan, the 
prime minister’s press office said.

The meeting with Syunik’s local leaders comes one day after Pashinian vehemently 
rejected what he described as Azerbaijan’s demand for an extraterritorial 
corridor to its western Nakhichevan exclave via Syunik (called Zangezur in 
Azerbaijan).

Pashinian implied that the deadly clashes along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border 
in Syunik on November 16 were the result of Baku’s response to Yerevan’s 
rejection of ‘corridor logic.’

At the same time, the Armenian leader again spoke in favor of general regional 
unblocking in which all countries will maintain sovereignty over transit roads 
passing through their territories.

Restoration of economic and transport links in the region is one of the terms of 
the Russia-brokered ceasefire agreement that stopped a 44-day 
Armenian-Azerbaijani war in Nagorno-Karabakh in November 2020.

The recent border clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan also renewed 
international calls for the delimitation and demarcation of the Soviet-era 
border between the two South Caucasus countries.

The leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are expected to meet in the Black 
Sea resort town of Sochi on November 26.

According to the Kremlin, during the Sochi talks “it is planned to discuss the 
implementation of the agreements reached on November 9 [2020] and January 11 
[2021] as well as to outline further steps to strengthen stability and establish 
a peaceful life in the region.”



Armenia Rejects ‘Corridor’ Condition For Improving Ties With Turkey


Armenia - A general view of central Yerevan against the backdrop of Mount Ararat 
located in the territory of modern-day Turkey


Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has reiterated Yerevan’s readiness to 
normalize its relations with Ankara, but warned that such a process cannot take 
place if Turkey presses conditions like Azerbaijan getting an exterritorial 
corridor to its western Nakhichevan exclave via Armenia.

“We want to normalize our relations with Turkey. We cannot discuss any corridor 
issue. But we want to discuss opening of regional transport links,” Pashinian 
said during an online press conference late on Tuesday answering a question from 
RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

Pashinian and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan exchanged public statements 
in August about reciprocal “positive signals” for normalizing relations after 
decades of feud over historical events, including the Ottoman-era massacres of 
Armenians that over two dozen governments in the world recognize as the first 
genocide of the 20th century.

In an interview with Le Figaro earlier this month Armenian Foreign Minister 
Ararat Mirzoyan revealed, however, that Ankara was setting new conditions for 
starting a dialogue with Yerevan, including the provision of an exterritorial 
corridor for Azerbaijan. He told the French daily that the demand for such a 
corridor was out of the question.


Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian holds an online press conference, 
.

Pashinian, too, said that last year’s Russia-brokered Armenian-Azerbaijani 
ceasefire agreement did not envisage any exterritorial corridors. He stressed, 
however, that Armenia is ready to provide transit roads via its territory, which 
is part of the deal that stopped a 44-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh, maintaining 
sovereignty over them.

“We want to normalize our relations with Turkey. But we want to ask a question 
to both Turkey and Azerbaijan, since they declare about their being ‘one people 
– two nations’. Do they or do they not want to destroy the Republic of Armenia, 
Armenia’s statehood? Do they or do they not want to continue and complete the 
genocide of the Armenian people? If not, then it is a different question. If 
yes, then what choice do we have besides resistance?” Pashinian said, adding 
that Armenia expects answers to these questions in the form of actions rather 
than statements.

“If they do not want it, then they are right when they say that there is a 
historical chance to establish peace and stability in this region,” the Armenian 
leader concluded.

Earlier this week Armenia’s Foreign Ministry said that Yerevan had asked Moscow 
to act as a mediator in a possible rapprochement process with Ankara.


Reprinted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL
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