RFE/RL Armenian Service – 11/10/2023


Pashinian Meets International Court Prosecutor Wanted By Russia

France - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian meets International Criminal 
Court prosecutor Karim Khan, Paris, .

Risking more tensions with Russia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian met on Friday 
with the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) who issued 
an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in March.

Pashinian’s press office said he discussed with the British prosecutor, Karim 
Khan, “issues relating to international justice and law as well as other topics 
of mutual interest.” The meeting took place on the sidelines of the annual Paris 
Peace Forum held in the French capital.

Khan ordered Putin’s arrest over war crimes allegedly committed by Russia in 
Ukraine. Moscow strongly condemned the move before adding Khan to the Russian 
Interior Ministry’s wanted list in May. It vehemently denies any war crimes 
committed during the invasion of Ukraine and accuses the ICC of executing orders 
issued by Western governments.

One week after the order for Putin’s arrest, Armenia’s Constitutional Court gave 
the green light for parliamentary ratification of the ICC’s founding treaty also 
known as the Rome Statute. Despite stern warnings issued by the Russian 
leadership in the following months, the National Assembly controlled by 
Pashinian’s party ratified the treaty on October 3.

The move added to unprecedented tensions between the two states. Russian 
officials said it will cause serious damage to Russian-Armenian relations. They 
dismissed Yerevan’s assurances that the ratification does not commit it to 
arresting Putin and handing him over to the ICC in the event of his visit to 

The Armenian Foreign Ministry said last week that it has proposed to Moscow a 
bilateral agreement that “can dispel the concerns of the Russian Federation.” 
Russian lawmakers brushed aside the proposal.

The Pashinian government’s stated rationale for accepting the ICC’s jurisdiction 
is to bring Azerbaijan to justice for its “war crimes” and to prevent more 
Azerbaijani attacks on Armenia.

Armenian opposition politicians counter that Azerbaijan is not a party to the 
Rome Statute and would therefore ignore any pro-Armenian ruling by The Hague 
tribunal. They say the real purpose of ratifying the treaty is to drive another 
wedge between Russia and Armenia and score points in the West.

Aliyev-Pashinian Meeting ‘Possible In December’

        • Heghine Buniatian
        • Karlen Aslanian

Belgium - EU Council President Charles Michel meets the leaders of Armenia and 
Azerbaijan in Brussels, July 15, 2023.

The European Union may succeed in organizing next month a potentially decisive 
meeting of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President 
Ilham Aliyev, a senior EU official said on Friday.

Aliyev and Pashinian were scheduled to meet on the fringes of the EU’s October 5 
summit in Granada, Spain. Pashinian hoped that they will sign there a document 
laying out the main parameters of an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty.

However, Aliyev withdrew from the talks at the last minute. He also appears to 
have cancelled another meeting which EU Council President Charles Michel planned 
to host in Brussels later in October.

The EU official, who did not want to be identified, told RFE/RL’s Armenian 
Service that Michel and other EU representatives are now holding separate 
discussions with Yerevan and Baku in an effort to reschedule the trilateral 
meeting for December. Although no agreement has been reached so far, the summit 
may take place next month, said the official.

Pashinian said, meanwhile, that he has not yet received “an invitation to the 
next meeting from Charles Michel.” Speaking during the annual Paris Peace Forum 
in the French capital, he said the peace accord can be signed “in the coming 
months” if Azerbaijan commits to mutual recognition of each other’s Soviet-era 
borders and a corresponding mechanism for delimiting the Armenian-Azerbaijani 

Pashinian questioned Baku’s willingness to do that, saying that Azerbaijani 
officials, academics and government-controlled media are increasingly promoting 
“the concept of so-called Western Azerbaijan” encompassing much of modern-day 
Armenia. That is a “concept for preparing a new war against Armenia,” he claimed.

The EU official said in this regard that Aliyev repeatedly recognized Armenia’s 
territorial integrity during EU-mediated talks with Pashinian. The Azerbaijani 
leader has not done so publicly, however.

The Brussels-based official also revealed that Aliyev pledged not to resort to a 
military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict just days before the 
Azerbaijani army attacked Karabakh and forced its practically entire population 
to flee to Armenia.

Former Defense Chief Decries His ‘Political Persecution’

        • Ruzanna Stepanian

Armenia -- Armenian Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan at a news conference in 
Yerevan, April 9, 2019.

Davit Tonoyan, a jailed former Armenian defense minister facing corruption 
charges, has described the case against him as politically motivated, saying 
that the final decision to arrest him was made at a meeting chaired by Prime 
Minister Nikol Pashinian.

Tonoyan was arrested more than two years ago in a criminal investigation into 
supplies of allegedly outdated rockets to Armenia’s armed forces. The National 
Security Service charged him, two generals and an arms dealer with fraud and 
embezzlement that cost the state almost 2.3 billion drams ($5.7 million).

All four suspects, among them former army chief of staff Artak Davtian, have 
denied the accusations during the trial that began in January 2022. The judge 
presiding over the trial has repeatedly refused to release Tonoyan from custody 
pending a verdict in the case.

“Political consent to arrest me was given during a meeting with the prime 
minister of Armenia, all participants of which are known to me and the public,” 
Tonoyan told the 168 Zham newspaper in an interview published this week. “Two of 
them are no longer in office, and rest assured that sooner or later everyone 
involved in making the above decision will answer for it.”

Tonoyan did not name any of those participants. Nor did he explicitly accuse 
Pashinian of personally ordering his imprisonment despite describing himself as 
a victim of “political persecution.”

Armenia - Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan and 
army chief Artak Davtian (R) attend an event in 2019.

Pashinian’s office has not commented on his latest claims so far. The premier’s 
press secretary, Nazeli Baghdasarian, did not answer phone calls from RFE/RL’s 
Armenian Service on Friday.

Lawmakers representing Pashinian’s Civil Contract party were also reluctant to 
comment, saying that they are unaware of the ex-minister’s latest statements.

“I’m not aware of that meeting and don’t know where Tonoyan heard about it,” 
said Andranik Kocharian, the chairman of the parliament committee on defense and 

Pashinian appointed Tonoyan as defense minister right after coming to power in 
2018. He sacked the latter in the wake of the disastrous 2020 war with 
Azerbaijan. Shortly before the start of his marathon trial, Tonoyan claimed that 
he is being made a scapegoat for Armenia’s defeat in the six-week war.

In August this year, Tonoyan agreed to testify before an ad hoc parliamentary 
commission tasked with examining the causes of the defeat. The two opposition 
blocs represented in the National Assembly have been boycotting the work of the 
commission. They say that it was set up last year to whitewash Pashinian’s 
wartime incompetence and disastrous decision making.

Tonoyan called for an end to the opposition boycott when he appeared before the 
commission made up of only pro-government lawmakers. Some opposition figures 
scoffed at the appeal, saying that the ex-minister is desperate to get the 
authorities to set him free.

Russia Again Offers To Host Armenian-Azeri Talks

Russia - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (C) meets his Azeri (R) and 
Armenian counterparts in Moscow, July 25, 2023.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov still stands ready to host fresh peace 
talks between his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts, one of his deputies 
said on Friday.

“We have repeatedly confirmed our readiness to provide a Moscow platform for 
further dialogue at the level of the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan 
on the issues of normalizing bilateral relations and signing a peace treaty,” 
Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin told reporters.

“This readiness of ours is unchanged. When we agree on the dates of such an 
event, we will announce it in a timely manner,” he said, according to Russian 
news agencies.

Moscow first made such an offer last month as it sought to sideline the West and 
regain the initiative in the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiation process. A Russian 
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman suggested recently that the talks between the 
Russian, Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers could pave the way for 
another summit of the leaders of the three nations. Russian President Vladimir 
Putin expressed readiness on October 13 to host such a summit.

Armenia now seems to prefer Western mediation of the peace talks amid its 
unprecedented tensions with Russia. They deepened further after Moscow’s failure 
to prevent, stop or even condemn Azerbaijan’s September 19-20 military offensive 
in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Lavrov held talks with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov but not 
Armenia’s Ararat Mirzoyan on the sidelines of a multilateral ministerial meeting 
in Tehran on October 23. Lavrov and Bayramov also twice spoke by phone in the 
following days. No such phone conversations were reported between the top 
Russian and Armenian diplomats.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev 
were scheduled to meet on the fringes of the European Union’s October 5 summit 
in Granada, Spain. Pashinian hoped that they will sign there a document laying 
out the main parameters of the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty.

However, Aliyev withdrew from the talks at the last minute. He also appears to 
have cancelled another meeting which EU Council President Charles Michel planned 
to host in Brussels later in October.

Visiting the Belgian capital on Friday, the secretary of Armenia’s Security 
Council, Armen Grigorian, expressed hope that the EU-mediated talks will take 
place “in the near future.” Yerevan, he said, is ready to “come to Brussels, 
reach the final point and sign the peace treaty.”

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