Read daily news summary for January 25 here.
Azerbaijan keeps people in captivity simply because they are Armenians – Armenian MP says at PACE
‘To date, Azerbaijan is unwilling to provide the slightest information on the physical ’conditions of Armenian PoWs,’ Vladimir Vardanyan, MP of ruling ‘My step’ party said at the Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), ArtsakhPress.am reports.
Vardanyan reminded that following the 2020 Nagorno Karabakh war truce statement, ECtHR urged Azerbaijani authorities to provide information about the Armenian captives in Azerbaijan and have not received any information to this date.
According to Vardanyan, these people are in captivity in Azerbaijan not because they committed a crime, but simply because they are Armenians. ‘Can you imagine that in the 21st century we can have a Council of Europe member country that pursues state policy of racial discrimination against Armenians,’ Vardanyan addressed to his counterparts at PACE.
‘I believe that we cannot tolerate the presence of a racist state in the Council of Europe,’ the MP said adding that all member states of the Council of Europe must respect the ECtHR rulings.
Ruben Rubinyan, head of the Armenian Delegation at PACE, in turn, discussed the issue of the PoWs during his meeting with Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe and Rik Daems, President of PACE. The officials assured that both the issue of Armenian PoWs and other detained people, as well as manifestations of hatred in Azerbaijan against Armenians, will in the centre of their attention.
Opposition distrusts Pashinyan in organising fair elections
Vazgen Manukyan, leader of ‘Homeland Salvation Movement’, a coalition of 17 opposition parties demanding Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation, had a meeting with residents of Ararat province where tension raised between Pashinyan’s and opposition’s supporters.
After the Nagorno Karabakh truce statement on November 9, 2020, ‘Homeland Salvation Movement’, which blames Pashinyan for the defeat in the war, nominated Vazgen Manukyan as a Prime Minister of an interim government.
At the meeting, Manukyan proposed two paths to solve the political crisis in Armenia: ‘one is constitutional when 100 thousand people gather causing government’s paralysis and resignation, or a revolt,’ News.am reports.
Speaking about the possibility of snap elections, Manukyan said that he is strongly against the elections to be organised by Pashinyan and his team expressing his distrust towards the PM’s actions and organisation of fair elections.
The ruling ‘My Step’, in turn, held a discussion on changes of the Electoral Code on Tuesday, Armenpress.am reports. Hamazasp Danielyan, My Step MP informed that possible constitutional changes, the possibility of the self-dissolution of the parliament, and other points were discussed. In Danielyan’s words, although the package of Electoral Code changes is ready, the ‘My Step’ bloc cannot adopt constitutional amendments unilaterally. ‘This amendment should have 88 votes at least, thus, the opposition should raise its voice,’ the MP said.
Earlier, head of ‘Bright Armenia’ parliamentary opposition bloc Edmon Marukyan supported the solution of an interim government as opposed to snap elections, saying that he will run for PM, expecting votes from ruling ‘My Step’ MPs despite Pashinyan’s possible candidacy.
Two basins feeding Lake Sevan came under Azerbaijan’s control, forests damaged – Minister of Environment
‘Several thousand hectares of forested areas were damaged as a result of the war unleashed by Azerbaijan against Nagorno-Karabakh,’ Armenian Minister of Environment Romanos Petrosyan told, PanArmenian.net reports.
‘There is no final assessment of the material damage inflicted on the country. During the fighting, however, fires broke out in some forested areas, which could not be extinguished amid the war,’ the Minister said. He added that respective international organisations were informed about the use of white phosphorus in the forests by Azerbaijan which caused significant environmental damage.
The Minister also shared the concerns of the ministry and environmental organisations over the future of Lake Sevan, the largest freshwater lake in the region. After the recent Nagorno Karabakh war two basins of the two main rivers feeding Lake Sevan came under the control of Azerbaijan. In Petrosyan’s words, the Ministry has conducted a relevant examination and presented the results to the Ministry of Defence.
Other news from Armenia
- Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called on the parties of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict to ‘implement as soon as possible the provisions of the trilateral statement related to humanitarian issues’ and ‘immediately put in action the exchange of prisoners of war and bodies, to respect cultural heritage.’
The Assembly also urged the parties involved ‘to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric hindering political dialogue.’ PACE expressed serious concern about reports of ‘violations of humanitarian and human rights law by all sides during this conflict and allegations of degradations to some religious sites and monuments, as well as the destruction of private property.’ The Assembly expects these reports ‘to be fully investigated and any violations to be remedied and the perpetrators prosecuted.’
- President of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) Arayik Harutyunyan said that any status of Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan is ‘simply impossible and unacceptable,’ PanArmenian.am reports. ‘Even in difficult conditions, we will continue the fight for the international recognition of the independence of Artsakh,’ Harutyunyan said at the newly created Ministry of Interior. The President noted that the matter should be continuously discussed within the OSCE Minsk Group format. According to him, the co-chairing countries fully share that position.
- Armenian President Armen Sargsyan’s press office informed that there is a positive dynamic in President Armen Sarkissian’s health condition who is still under the doctors. ‘Immediately after the doctors' permission, President Sarkissian will return to Yerevan. The President continues to work remotely, carrying out his constitutional functions,’ the press office informs. President Sargsyan tested positive for COVID-19 during his trip to the UK with his family in December.
- Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan emphasized at the Ministry of Justice that attempts of politicizing the judiciary are unacceptable, Armenpress news agency PM Pashinyan expressed his satisfaction over a great impetus to the judicial reforms’ which have been given recently. ‘Of course, the results of these activities and reforms are not visible immediately, but I am sure that we will be able to achieve the fulfillment of the goal we have through consistent steps – that is to establish an independent and fair judiciary”, the PM said. He added that the impermissible attempts of politicizing should be eradicated through long-term mechanisms.