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Karabakh war defeat sets Armenian army and prime minister against each other

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Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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Armenian President Armen Sarkissian Saturday refused to sign Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian's order dismissing army chief of staff Onik Gasparyan.

Yerevan has not calmed since Prime Minister Pashinyan signed the declaration accepting defeat from Azerbaijan's operation to rescue its occupied territories in Karabakh.

Pashinian dismissed the head of the general staff Onik Gasparyan Thursday after what he had called an attempted coup to remove him, but the move had to be signed off by the president.

According to the president's statement Pashinian's move to dismiss Gasparyan was unconstitutional.

Pashinyan has faced calls to quit since November, with critics angered over the outcome of the six-week Nagorno-Karabakh war when Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages, and Armenians are also handing over other territories under the deal, which is being monitored by both Russia and Turkey.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as Azerbaijan's land but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces and self-appointed Armenian officials, backed by Armenia since an earlier war between the rivals ended in a ceasefire in 1994.

Armenia plunged Thursday into a fresh political crisis as Pashinian defied calls to resign, accused the military of an attempted coup and rallied some 20,000 supporters in the capital Yerevan.

Pashinyan has warned of an "attempted coup" against him after top military officials demanded he resigns over his handling of last year's Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Armenian general staff doubles down on call to to quit Pashinyan

The Armenian Armed Forces General Staff has reaffirmed its call, demanding that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his government step down according to a statement.

"The Armed Forces General Staff statement from February 25 was not guided by anyone or made under anyone's pressure. It is a clear conviction and position of generals and officers whose sole goal is to save the fatherland in this crucial moment. We reaffirm our clear position," the statement reads.

Earlier on Thursday, the Armenian Armed Forces General Staff issued a statement demanding resignations of the prime minister and government in light of the current situation and recommending that the use of force should be avoided.

The general staff also noted, "the prime minister and the Armenian government are no longer able to make adequate decisions in this crisis and the crucial situation for the Armenian people." The statement was signed by Chief of the General Staff Onik Gasparyan, his deputies and heads of departments.

Pashinyan slammed the demand to quit as an attempted military coup and announced his decision to sack the chief of the general staff.

Armenian constitution stipulates that the president appoints and dismisses the chief of the general staff as advised by the prime minister. However, if the president refuses to sign the prime minister's proposition, it automatically enters into force in 15 days.

Kremlin expresses concern

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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