Hello, and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, Week in Review. First, happy new year to our listeners and followers, we wish you all a healthy and prosperous year. This Week we’re going to talk about the following major topics:
● The State of the Opposition and their demands
● Update on the Border Positions between Armenia & Azerbaijan
● The State of the Line of Contact around Artsakh
To talk about these issues, we have with us:
Asbed Kotchikian, who is an associate professor of political science and international relations at the American University of Armenia, where he teaches courses on post-Soviet space and the Middle East.
George Tabakian who is the Co-founder of Repat Armenia Foundation and Sahman NGO and Executive director of Arar Foundation which works mainly on projects with the Ministry of Defense of Armenia.
The Homeland Salvation Movement has been demonstrating for the past 2 months, demanding Prime Minister Pashinyan’s resignation. Yesterday the leadership of the movement, Vazgen Manukyan, Ishkhan Saghatelyan and Artur Vanetsyan, met with Foreign Minister Ara Aivazyan.
Was there any outcome from that meeting?
The movement’s leadership has also requested meetings with Director of the National Security Service Armen Abazyan and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Onik Gasparyan. Why? What is Homeland Salvation’s strategy to bring about a resignation, and a transitional government to lead to elections?
● Note Ishkhan Saghatelyan’s announcement on Jan. 10.
We’ve heard a lot in the past month that Armenia and Azerbaijan are busy negotiating the border between the two countries. An international border has never been recognized between them before.
While Nikol Pashinyan has denied that the process currently taking place is an official demarcation or delimitation, the Armenian press has been filled with reports about loss of territories around the towns of Shurnukh and Vorotan. Even the Armenian Ombudsman warned against the use of tools and methodologies which have been resulting in inconsistent results and also undesirable outcomes.
Earlier this week, the chief of the Armenian NSS Abazyan apparently held an unannounced meeting with his Azeri counterpart on the border of Armenia and Nakhichevan. Based on various news reports, the fate of the Tigranashen (Kyarqi) village was discussed.
What was the outcome of the meeting? In fact, we discussed Tigranashen during our last video podcast on the border demarcation process.
In an interview to Petros Ghazaryan of Armenian Public TV in late December, Pashinyan said that the most recent concessions by Armenia in Shurnukh and Vorotan are not based on the Nov 9 document but a result of verbal agreements. This brings up a lot of questions for me? When did these verbal discussions happen? Is Pashinyan even allowed to do this under Armenian law? Do we have an idea of what they’re using as the basis for this? We keep hearing rumors that the Azerbaijani side is relying on GPS coordinates from Google Maps.
What are the issues in the border determination methodologies the sides are using? Are GPS and Google Maps appropriate resources to demarcate international borders?
While Armenia seems to be ceding more and more land to Azerbaijan (much of it alleged to be in Armenia proper), there’s no clarity around the new line of contact around Artsakh, which is under Russian peacekeeping control.
Meanwhile. Azerbaijan has been applying all possible pressure to isolate Artsakh and demonstrating political and military muscle: last week’s visit to Stepanakert by Armenian FM Ara Aivazyan provoked a harsh response from Aliyev; Azerbaijan has been obstructing the movement of Armenian forces between Armenia and Artsakh, etc. Yet, we’re not hearing anything about the rights and borders of Artsakh.
What is the future of Artsakh’s borders?
That concludes our program for This Week in Review episode, recorded on Sunday, January 10, 2021. We hope it has helped your understanding of some of the issues from the previous week. We look forward to your feedback, and your suggestions for issues to cover in greater depth. Contact us on our website, at groong.org, or on our Facebook Page “ANN - Groong”, or in our Facebook Group “Groong - Armenian News Network”.
Special thanks to Laura Osborn for providing the music for our podcast. On behalf of everyone in this episode, we wish you a good week. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channels, Like our pages and follow us on social media. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you soon.
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Armenia, Azerbaijan, border demarcations, Homeland Salvation Movement, Karabakh, Artsakh, Asbed Kotchikian, George Tabakian, Nikol Pashinyan, My Step, Line of Contact, Shurnukh, Vorotan, Syunik, Zangezour, Vayots Dzor, Tigranashen, POW, Missing in Action