Hello, and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, Week in Review. This show was recorded on Monday, May 16, 2022. This week we’re going to talk about the following major topics:
● Continuing Opposition Protests in Yerevan
● 5 + 6: Armenia’s “Response” to Azerbaijan
● Lebanon Elections 2022
To talk about these issues, we have with us:
Dr. Ohannes Geukjian who is the chair of the department of Political Science and Public Administration (PSPA) at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. He is also assistant professor of comparative politics and conflict resolution.
Arthur G. Martirosyan, who is a Senior Consultant with CM Partners. In 1994, after graduating from Yale University, he joined Conflict Management Group and Harvard Negotiation Project, and has since worked on conflicts in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa and Latin America.
This past week the opposition continued demonstrating and protesting throughout Yerevan. At Groong, we have been covering the protests almost daily, with our Twitter Space broadcasts from France Square most evenings. Hovik, you and Alison Tahmizian Meuse have been interviewing various opposition leaders and also relatives of soldiers we lost in the 44-day war in 2020.
What’s the state of the protests, as things stand right now?
Just over this weekend, Edmon Marukyan revealed the 6 points with which the Pashinyan government responded to Azerbaijan’s 5-point March document which laid out their conditions for peace with Armenia.
Generally, here’s what the response looks like:
Needless to say, the opposition is not happy.
● Is this an adequate response?
● Why has it taken almost a month to inform the Armenian public?
● Why doesn’t the opposition like this response?
FM Mirzoyan was in Dushanbe and explained Armenia’s approach to achieving peace with Azerbaijan; basically the points above. Also, FM Mirzoyan met with Azerbaijani FM Bayramov. The clear difference in the post-meeting public statements of the two countries was the issue of the POW release, essentially indicating that Azerbaijan has no intention of releasing Armenian POWs, of whom there are between 1 and 200, a year and a half after the 44-Day war.
Also, because of the war in Ukraine, Russia and the West are unable to cooperate on such platforms as the OSCE MG, so it’s not clear who is going to “manage” the negotiations process.
● What is the outcome of this past week’s continued negotiations on the Armenian-Azerbaijani so called “peace agreement”?
On Sunday May 15th Lebanon held its first elections since the Beirut blast in 2020, and the country plunged into economic freefall. The government is bankrupt, the financial sector has melted, and banks are insolvent and cannot honor the debt to their depositors. So peoples’ money is trapped, if not evaporated in the deep devaluation of the Lebanese pound, and almost three quarters of the country is living below estimated poverty levels.
So in the middle of this chaos, nearly 4 million people are eligible to vote in a country of 6.8 million. The major alignments are:
● What is the state of affairs after the elections, and what are the major alignments in the country at present?
● Since the election took place yesterday, how are things taking shape?
The Armenian community has been active in the elections, perhaps seeing an opportunity for change, but divisions within the Armenians doesn’t help.
● How are Armenians involved in these elections?
● Is the Armenian community united in its involvement in Lebanese elections? What are the division lines within the community?
It’s always hard to predict what lies ahead.
● What can we expect as a result of these elections? Will they provide an opportunity for Lebanon to implement economic and financial reforms?
● Are you optimistic that the elections may open up the path for positive changes and reforms?
That was our Week in Review show, and we hope it helped you catch up with some of the issues in and around Armenia from this past week. As always, we invite your feedback and your suggestions. You can find us on most social media and podcast platforms, or our website Groong.org.
Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel on YouTube, Like our pages and follow us on social media. On behalf of everyone in this episode, we wish you a good week, thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next week.
Ohannes Geukjian, Arthur Martirosyan, Katia Peltekian, Armenia, Artsakh, Nagorno Karabakh, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Peace Agenda, Agenda of Peace, Nikol Pashinyan, Lebanon Elections,