World Armenia: the president refuses to dismiss the head of the army

01:30  28 february  2021
01:30  28 february  2021 Source:   lepoint.fr

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YEREVAN (Reuters) - Armenian President Armen Sarkissian refused to fire the head of the country’s armed forces on Saturday, intensifying a standoff between Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the army over what Pashinyan said was an attempted coup to remove him. Pashinyan dismissed Chief of General Staff Onik Gasparyan on Thursday, but his sacking needed the formal approval of the president - who rejected the move as unconstitutional and said the army should be kept out of politics.

President Armen Sarkissian refused to fire the army 's chief of staff, despite Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's claims that the military is attempting a coup. Pashinyan finds himself increasingly isolated in the row with the military. Amid an escalating row between the government and the military in Armenia , President Armen Sarkissian The claim was disputed by a deputy chief of armed forces . Pashinyan responded by firing the officer, which in turn prompted Onik Gasparyan and over 40 other top military leaders to call for the prime minister to step down. What do protesters say of Pashinyan?

arménie, crise politique, président © Provided by Le Point armenia, political crisis, president

L ' Armenia sinks a little deeper into a political crisis after the president's refusal Armen Sarkissian to sign the order of the Prime Minister dismissing the head of the army, Saturday February 27. "The president, within the framework of the powers conferred on him by the Constitution, returned the text (ordering the dismissal of the chief of the army) with objections", explained the presidency in a press release. The political crisis "cannot be resolved by frequent changes of officials," she added.

Shortly after, Prime Minister Nikol Pachinian indicated on Facebook that he would return this order to the presidency, stressing that his decision had "not at all" defused the crisis. This worsening of the situation came as several thousand people demonstrated in Yerevan on Saturday for the third day in a row, in order to obtain the resignation of the Prime Minister, criticized for the defeat in the autumn 2020 war in Nagorno. Karabakh.

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Armenian President Armen Sarkissian decided on Saturday not to put his signature under Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s proposal to dismiss Chief of the General Staff Onik Gasparyan, who alongside the other military top brass, had demanded the prime minister’s resignation, the "Within his presidential powers, the president has sent back the draft order with objections. The president pursues the only goal of protecting the country from threats to its constitutional order and security, of ensuring the country’s stability and the normal functioning of its Armed Forces ," the statement says.

Armenia has been in political crisis since Nikol Pachinian accepted in November, coerced and forced, the peace agreement proposed by Moscow, thus confirming a humiliating defeat against Azerbaijan . The crisis that has been simmering since then experienced a spectacular rebound on Thursday with the general staff's call for the Prime Minister's resignation. The latter then denounced an attempted coup, ordered the dismissal of the army chief, Onik Gasparian, and gathered some 20,000 of his supporters in the capital Yerevan.

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The opposition responded Thursday and Friday by gathering thousands of demonstrators to demand the resignation of Nikol Pachinian. Protesters marched through central Yerevan again on Saturday, with many cheering them on from their windows or from their balconies. When the procession arrived in front of Parliament, some demonstrators set up camp, noted a journalist from the Agence France-Presse . About 5,000 protesters gathered there earlier in the day, calling on parliamentarians to act.

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Armenian president refuses to sign order dismissing chief of General Staff. " The President decided to send back to the Prime Minister a draft decree on dismissal of the chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces . This step does not contribute to solving the current situation. I am resending to the President the request to dismiss the chief of the General Staff, expecting it to be signed in accordance with the established procedure," he noted.

President Armen Sarkissian has received Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's proposal to relieve Onik Gasparyan from the post of Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Armenia . The President 's office informed Armenian News-NEWS.am about this. "It is not signed at the moment," they added. Earlier in the day, Pashinyan announced on Facebook that he had signed the necessary documents to dismiss Gasparyan. As reported earlier, the General Staff of the Armed Forces on Thursday issued a statement noting that the army demands the resignation of PM Pashinyan and his government.

The political crisis "resolved within two to three days", according to former Prime Minister

Former Prime Minister Vazgen Manoukian, who was cited by the opposition to replace Nikol Pachinian, told the crowd that he expected the political crisis to be "resolved within two to three days." “Today, Pachinian has no support. I call on the security services and the police to join the army, to support the army, ”he added. Nikol Pachinian "must be held responsible for the defeat in the war, for the signing of a humiliating agreement," Arut Zakaryan, a 53-year-old locksmith, told Agence France-Presse during Saturday's protest.

The Armenian Prime Minister, who came to power in 2018 thanks to a peaceful revolution, has been the target of calls for resignation since the defeat in the war for control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region last November. At the time, faced with the risk of a debacle, the army asked the head of government to accept a ceasefire negotiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin and which involved significant territorial losses for Yerevan .

While most of the Armenian separatist region of Nagorno Karabakh has survived, Armenia has lost the symbolic city of Shusha, as well as a glacis of Azerbaijani territories surrounding the region. In six weeks, the war claimed an estimated 6,000 lives. The army has so far supported the prime minister but let go this week after the dismissal of a senior official who criticized the former prime minister's statements that the defeat was in part due to ineffectiveness of 'a Russian weapons system, the Iskander missile launchers. The Armenian general staff then demanded the resignation of Nikol Pachinian, judging that he was "no longer in a position to take the necessary decisions".

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