The liturgy at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral dedicated to Holy Nativity and Epiphany (Christmas celebrated in Armenia) was held on Tuesday evening in absence of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. PM’s spokesperson later informed that Pashinyan was self-isolating due to coronavirus pandemic.
In his Christmas address Armenian church leader Garegin II referred to the ‘catastrophic consequences’ of the war, Armenpress.am reports. “The loss of a large part of Artsakh, the martyrdom of our heroic sons, the pain and grief of tens of thousands of displaced brothers and sisters in dire need of shelter and material supplies, of thousands of soldiers wounded, in captivity and missing, have plunged our national life in the homeland and diaspora into the grip of a gloomy night,” Catholicos says.
Earlier in December the Armenian church leader Garegin II made a statement urging Pashinyan to step down to prevent further challenges to national solidarity among Armenians after the recent Nagorno Karabakh. Pashinyan has been criticized and accused of mishandling the war where thousands were killed and left homeless.
“Azerbaijani armed forces have violated previously reached agreements and are advancing their positions in Nagorno Karabakh,” the Secretary of the Security Council of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) Vitaly Balasanyan said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
Balasanyan noted that the November 10 agreement addressing, among other issues, the line of contact, has been repeatedly violated by Azerbaijani forces which advanced in the direction of Aghdam, Askeran, Karmir Shuka, and capital Stepanakert and continue their provocations.
“We keep reporting the Russian peacekeeping contingent about the recorded violations,” Balasanyan said adding that some of the raised issues have been solved and there is a positive dynamic in that direction.
Edmon Marukyan, the leader of Bright Armenia parliamentary group responded to PM Pashinyan’s recent article where the PM attempts to explain the reasons for defeat in the Nagorno Karabakh war. In Marukyan’s words, an investigation should provide the answers to the questions about the war. “It is impossible to answer these questions within an article: it is a monologue,” Marukyan said.
Marukyan noted that his parliamentary group had earlier sent a proposal to all political forces to initiate a fact-finding group aimed at investigating all circumstances of the recent Nagorno Karabakh war.
Speaking about the demand for the resignation of PM Pashinyan, Marukyan called on all political forces to unite around their jointly nominated candidate. “Replacing Nikol Pashinyan will be possible only with our candidate,” Marukyan said. He added that there are no regulations or Electoral code in Armenia at the moment, hence, it is impossible to hold elections now.
Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan, who is on a working visit in Artsakh since Tuesday, had a meeting with the President of Artsakh Arayik Harutyunyan as well as Foreign Minister Davit Babayan and the Head of Artsakh Parliament Artur Tovmasyan.
The Foreign Ministry of Artsakh informed Armenpress that the sides discussed issues of security and establishing peace in the region. “The resumption of the process of peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict within OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship as the only internationally mandated format for mediation was discussed,” the report reads.
The Ministers highlighted the recognition of the Artsakh people’s right to self-determination and security, restoration and protection of their rights, and de-occupation by Azerbaijan of the territories of Artsakh as a key for the political settlement of the conflict.