YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)—The largest opposition faction in the Armenian parliament plans to initiate a special session of the National Assembly in the coming days around adopting documents regarding the process of Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations.
Gegham Manukyan, a member of the Hayastan faction, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Wednesday that they expect that the pro-government majority will not seek to scuttle the special session by opting out of it and thus affecting the quorum “if [Prime Minister] Nikol Pashinyan was sincere in his statements during the question-and-answer session.”
In his remarks in parliament on Wednesday Pashinyan reaffirmed his government’s support for so-called “Russian proposals” for a peace deal with Azerbaijan implying that the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh should be suspended indefinitely. He stressed that it was consonant with the demands of the opposition that had previously criticized the current Armenian authorities for ignoring the matter in their negotiations with Azerbaijan.
Manukyan said that the documents to be proposed by Hayastan concern the ‘red lines’ for Armenia in the negotiation process.
“I hope that the ruling faction will also join [the special session] instead of boycotting it as it happened on many occasions in the past when the opposition initiated special sessions and proposed the adoption of statements,” he said.
The opposition lawmaker also expressed a hope that the parliament majority will vote in favor of an opposition-proposed statement clearly expressing Armenia’s position in the negotiations with Azerbaijan.
Tigran Abrahamian, a representative of the other opposition Pativ Unem faction in parliament, meanwhile, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that it was strange for him that Pashinyan tried to link viewpoints of opposition factions with the approaches of “one capital or another.”
He also challenged the approach that delaying a solution to the Karabakh issue was in the interest of Armenia or Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Our faction or the [former ruling] Republican Party of Armenia have never declared that their position corresponds to the approaches of one capital or another. There were concrete principles for us. They were quite clear and were also the priority of our foreign policy in the previous decade. In 2008-2018 there was a negotiation process where we reached a point where the principle of the right to self-determination was enshrined in a document, and that document was accepted by Azerbaijan,” Abrahamyan said.
“And what do we have today? Today we don’t have a negotiation process and the statements that are being made either proceed from the capitulation document of November 9, 2020 [a trilateral statement by the leaders of Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan on ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh] or some oral declarations. Representatives of the Armenian government are even afraid to talk about the right to self-determination, let alone making it a subject of discussions or negotiations.
And I think that talking here about the fact that the approaches of the opposition are in line with the approaches of the current government has nothing to do with reality,” the opposition lawmaker added.
Pashinyan and other Armenian government officials dismiss accusations made by the opposition of not properly addressing the rights and freedoms of Karabakh Armenians at international talks. They also blame the previous governments for diplomatic failures that they claim paved the way for an all-out war in Nagorno-Karabakh in the fall of 2020.