I personally gave the order to pull out the troops from the Syunik Province of Armenia. This is what Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan said in response to deputies’ questions during today’s question-and-answer session with government officials in parliament, adding that he took this decision to prevent the resumption of hostilities.
“We didn’t want to lose the strategic road, at least temporarily,” Pashinyan clarified.
The deputies particularly stated that the Azerbaijani border guards appeared in Syunik Province right after the order for the pullout of troops was given on December 19. “This wasn’t envisaged in the trilateral statement signed on November 9 of last year. Question: Was the order to pull out the troops verbal or in writing? Had the Security Council convened a session before this decision was taken?” deputy of the opposition “Armenia” Alliance Anna Grigoryan asked, to which the Prime Minister said the following:
“As far as Syunik Province is concerned, have I ever refuted my responsibility for this decision? Orders are given according to procedures. Yes, there was a discussion. The Security Council didn’t hold a session, but all members of the Council, as well as the regional governor of Syunik Province and the foreign minister attended the discussion. We wanted to avoid a new war, and if this decision wasn’t adopted, there would be more hostilities. At the time, there would be serious issues in Syunik,” the head of government said, adding that the decision was taken in accordance with the results of the negotiations.
“We had an agreement to transfer 7 regions. It was written in the law on administrative and territorial division,” Pashinyan clarified and admitted that he had personally gave the order to pull out the troops and that former Minister of Defense Vagharshak Harutyunyan had assumed execution of the order.
With this, Pashinyan affirmed that even back then Azerbaijan hadn’t implemented and still isn’t implementing the trilateral agreements according to which the parties needed to stay where they had reached.