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On December 19th, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that he and his supporters would hold a march in remembrance of the victims of the Nagorno-Karabakh War.
On the same day, the opposition said it would rally, demanding his resignation.
“Today, from 13:00, we will hold a march of respect from the Republic Square to Yerablur, to pay tribute to the memory of our martyrs”, Pashinyan said in his video message.
He stressed that this is a promise to “all our brothers, their children, family members that their sacrifice will not be in vain.”
“This will be a process of reflection, where each of us as a nation must reflect on our past and future path. Today’s march has no political context, but takes place in a specific political situation. My position on resolving that situation remains the same and has not changed. The people, and only the people, should decide the fate of the government and not the elite circles”, Pashinyan said.
In his message, Nikol Pashinyan also referred to the processes taking place around Syunik. According to the Prime Minister, these days the borders in the Syunik sector are being adjusted, or rather, the RA Armed Forces, the border guards, are being stationed on the internationally recognized borders of Armenia.
“This, of course, brings certain changes in the environment we are familiar with, creates certain complications and inconveniences, emotions, even assessments that what is happening – is a loss of Syunik. The reality, however, is exactly the opposite. “All this is done to ensure the security of Syunik”, said the Prime Minister.
He also spoke of the captives:
“One of our biggest problems remains the return of our captive compatriots, the search for the missing, as well as the stabilization of the situation around Armenia and Artsakh. That is what the government’s daily efforts are aimed at.”
While Pashinyan and others were moving towards Yerablur, the opposition blocked the road, and there were clashes with police.
Meanwhile, the situation in Syunik remains unclear. According to the Mayor of Kapan, 13 villages will be surrendered to #Azerbaijan.
The Head of Syunik’s Shurnukh village urged volunteers to go there and protect the village.
The “Information Verification Center” reported that the information does not correspond to reality.
Inhabitants of the Karahunj community of Syunik have blocked the road demanded cancelling the decision of the Armenian Ministry of Defense’s decision about surrendering Kapan’s military positions.
Shurnukh remains under the control of the Armenian side.
And, finally, the process of demarcation of new borders of Armenia and Azerbaijan has begun in Syunik region.
On Azerbaijan’s side, president Ilham Aliyev attended the CIS Heads of State Council’s session via video conference.
He said that the conflict had been concluded in Karabakh.
“I agree with Vladimir Putin that we should talk about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the past tense. It is already history,” Aliyev said.
The Azerbaijani leader stressed the stable situation in the region since the signing of the ceasefire agreement. Aliyev noted that only one incident took place in Karabakh in a month and a half.
“It was provoked by groups of militias outside the control of the Armenian authorities – in fact, militants. The incident was settled within one day,” he said.
Separately, European Union officials tried to hold a trilateral meeting with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, but failed to do so, according to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.
Following the Russia-negotiated peace in Nagorno-Karabakh in November, Azerbaijan signals it seeks EU-style reconciliation in the region based on economic projects, while a leading MEP replied democratic reforms should come first.
Azerbaijani ambassador to the bloc Fuad Isgandarov said he wants to cooperate with the Union to “create something unique in Southern Caucasus and to create a small pilot EU-similar project there.” He drew a parallel with how the EU was created, on the basis of a coal and steel union that evolved into a space for common values and deep political ties.
MEP Marina Kaljurand, the chair of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with the South Caucasus, said the key to EU-Azerbaijan relations “should develop based on democratic reforms, democratic institutions, and then comes economy.”
“I will say that it’s very much in the hands of Azerbaijan today,” she added.
The work of the Russian peacekeepers continues in the region, with them providing medical help, clearing explosives and securing the safe return of refugees.
On December 18th, engineering reconnaissance and demining of the area in Stepanakert were carried out. During the day, 21.8 km of roads were cleared, 1,334 explosive objects were found and removed for destruction.
In total, 195 ha of territory and 87 km of roads were cleared during mine clearance in Nagorno-Karabakh, 423 buildings were cleared, and 73,500 explosive objects were found and destroyed.
Russian peacekeepers from the special-purpose medical detachment (SMU) have created multifunctional medical teams to ensure the field work of military medics in remote localities of Nagorno-Karabakh. Over the past day, Russian military medics have provided medical assistance to 95 residents.
In total, more than 700 residents of Nagorno-Karabakh received qualified medical care in the field hospital of the Ministry of Defense, including 79 children.
Currently, the situation appears stable.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Armenia Prepares to Withdraw Troops From Syunik Region Amid Protests
- Map Update: Military Situation In Nagorno-Karabakh On December 17, 2020