Pashinyan presents goals for new government

The administration of recently reelected Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has adopted a five-year Government Action Plan outlining the regime’s national security, foreign policy and socioeconomic goals. 

The plan, which will endure from 2021-2026, was adopted by the RA National Assembly on August 26 with 70 votes in favor. Parliament’s two opposition alliances, the Armenia Alliance and I Have Honor Alliance, abstained from voting, citing concerns that the document was being unilaterally enforced by the ruling party.  

The Government Action Plan endorses the resumption of the negotiation process for a peaceful settlement of the Artsakh conflict under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by France, Russia and the United States. The plan does not include specifications on the status of the Republic of Artsakh or the future of the Russian peacekeeping mission, which is scheduled to end five years after the signature of the November 9, 2020 trilateral ceasefire agreement. 

The plan additionally envisions the end of the 30-year blockade of Armenia through the opening of regional economic and transport routes. “Peace and stability in the region is our long-term strategy,” the plan notes regarding the administration’s foreign policy. “Deepening or normalizing relations with neighboring countries will be one of the important directions of the government’s foreign policy.” 

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addresses his cabinet (September 8, 2021)

In recent weeks, the leaders of Armenia and Turkey have made public statements signaling a willingness to restore diplomacy between the two countries. During a cabinet meeting on September 8, Pashinyan noted that he sees within Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statements “an opportunity to speak about the normalization of Armenia-Turkey relations and re-launching the Armenian-Turkish railway and roads.” 

“We are ready for such a conversation,” he said. “By and large, this is about transforming our region into a crossroads linking the West with East and North with South.”

On August 27, Pashinyan referenced “positive public signals from Turkey,” noting that Armenia might “respond to the positive signals with a positive signal.” In response Erdogan told reporters that Turkey might be prepared to gradually normalize relations with Armenia, on the basis of respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty. 

“I wish success to the new government of Armenia. Our region needs a constructive approach,” said Erdogan. 

In response to Erdogan’s reference to “respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty,” which presumably alludes to the settlement of the Artsakh conflict, chairman of the committee on foreign relations Eduard Aghajanyan insisted that Armenia would not accept preconditions to the normalization of relations with Turkey. “We certainly welcome positive rhetoric whenever it comes from Azerbaijan and Turkey,” he said in an interview. “But unfortunately, Erdogan’s statement contained points resembling preconditions, which do not help to launch that process at all.”

Opposition politicians have denounced reconciliation efforts, accusing the government of making broad concessions to Turkey in regards to the Artsakh conflict. Opponents additionally claim that Armenia might abandon its campaign for greater international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. 

During his August 24 speech to the National Assembly outlining the government plan, PM Pashinyan assured that the promotion of regional cooperation “cannot take place at the expense of other security and vital interests of Armenia and Artsakh.” 

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in support of its ally Azerbaijan in the first Artsakh War. The nations neared a rapprochement in 2009 with the Zurich Protocols, which were signed yet never ratified after Turkey introduced a new set of preconditions insisting on a resolution to the Artsakh conflict.  

Russia has vocalized its support for Armenian-Turkish reconciliation. The Russian Foreign Ministry has indicated on multiple occasions within the past week that it would be willing to mediate normalization efforts.

The government plan additionally foresees military reforms, including technological modernization of the army, increased benefits for military service, the deployment of border troops instead of army units and the larger involvement of women in combat units. Pashinyan has also promised the creation of a foreign intelligence agency within the next five years. 

According to a recent survey conducted in Armenia, 56-percent of respondents believe that solving security issues should be the top priority for the new government, convened after the June snap parliamentary elections, to address. The second most popular choice, endorsed by nine-percent of respondents, was strengthening the army. The survey, overseen by the International Republican Institute based in the United States, was carried out through phone interviews with 1,504 permanent residents of Armenia older than the age of 18 collected between July 21 and July 30, 2021. 

Finally, the plan includes the possibility of granting a special status to the Western Armenian language standard in Armenia. Educational programming would aim to strengthen knowledge of the standard and preserve its transmission. 

According to the RA Constitution, the state language of the Republic of Armenia is Armenian. While the Constitution does not specify whether Armenian refers to Western or Eastern Armenian, the latter predominates in government documents and sessions. The Constitution also stipulates that Armenia shall “contribute to the preservation of the Armenian language.” 

The previous government plan announced in 2019 noted that the government should encourage “the dissemination of the Armenian language and strengthen the knowledge of Armenian (including Western Armenian) in Armenia and the diaspora.” Yet it did not go so far as to establish a special status for Western Armenian within the country. 

UNESCO categorizes Western Armenian as “definitely endangered,” meaning that “children no longer learn the language as a ‘mother tongue’ in the home.”

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is a staff writer for the Armenian Weekly. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hetq and the Daily Californian. She is pursuing master’s degrees in Journalism and Near Eastern Studies at New York University. A human rights journalist and feminist poet, Lillian's first poetry collection Journey to Tatev was released with Girls on Key Press in spring of 2021.
Lillian Avedian

@LillianAvedian

Graduate student @GloJo_NYU and @nyukevo. Staff writer @armenianweekly. Editorial intern @DAWN_Journal. She/her.
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12 Comments

  1. THE BEST AND MOST INPORTANT FOR ARMENIAN TO HAVE A STRONG ARMY TO LET ARMENIA LIVE IN PEASE. DIGNIFIED, DEFEND ITS BORDERS AND KEEP ARTSAKH INCLUDING SHUSHE ARMENIAN FREE OF DEPRESSION AMD DISCRIMINATION.

  2. I finally see something positive from PM Pashinyan, since the second war. However any relations with Turkey should under no circumstances give any approval in writing to undermining the Armenian Genocide. This topic of Genocide should not even be discussed with Erdogan administration. It is obviously clear that the Erdogan administration will not recognize the Armenian genocide. Now if one of Erdogan’s pre-condition is for Armenian to make written statements to undermine or put the Armenian genocide recognition in a weaker position legally globally. Then they can take their relations and put it you know where.

  3. What an idiot. He and his wife preached peace and dolma for 2 years and in the end this is the result. As for the army. We cannot rely on Russian graduates. We need a new Cilician army free from Caucasian pigs. The heck with you and your useless policies. You have successfully destroyed every single diaspora community and you are still asking for support.

    • Underrated comment. If every diaspora thought like this, Armenia might have a chance, unfortunately, the escapees of 1990-1994 Armenia who now comfortably reside in apartments in Glendale with their leased and/or salvaged BMWs have brought over their daft mentality with them and are, quite disturbingly, supportive of one of Armenia’s greatest traitors, Pashinyan.

  4. What an incompetent, thin skinned loser, who lies and makes excuses as policy on a daily basis. Remember during the war he said “we are winning and don’t pay attention to any other source of information”? All lies. Better to not pay attention to Pashinyan as hes a gift to our enemies and a danger to all Armenians. In 3 years the clueless traitor single handily destroyed pretty much every aspect of Armenia’s security via the army and its economics. And continues to do so as there is no end in sight. I’m convinced he unilaterally gave away ancient Armenian lands, believing that its Armenia’s best long term interest as he wrongly stated that ‘those were not our lands’, an excuse on how its not his fault. And worse, he professes that hes the only one who can fix it? Hardly. Who would want to invest in Armenia with him in charge? Who would want to send their kids to defend it with such an incompetent loser? HE NEEDS TO BE RID, its that simple. AGAIN, the ONLY SOLUTION is one unified Armenia, Artsakh and diaspora all working together to increase Armenia’s security, wealth and standing, while raising its power to be able to instill justice for the crimes committed against it and yes liberate more lands.. And no, Russia is no friend as the war made that perfectly clear. Russia sat back and watched Turkey DIRECTLY with Azerbaijan use mercenaries and Israel to fight its “best Caucus ally” while 5k Armenian kids died. Any Armenian “leader” that doesn’t accept this reality, like the current traitor, and all past traitors for that matter, who themselves are equally to blame as they robbed Armenia for decades for personal gain, must be avoided at all cost. This man is ruin. That is clear. Just look at HIS results. Armenia will be better when hes gone.

    • That is russia’s blueprint; you cozy up to the west and we will cripple you by taking away land; happened to Ukraine and Georgia and low and behold it happened to us too! Armenian’s were foolish enough to put this 2nd rate very west leaning journalist in charge. The russian’s are looking out for themselves as they are in a life and death struggle with the west for power and resources. Do you think they would put our interests before theirs? it was our fault to bring this fool into power.

  5. “Finally, the plan includes the possibility of granting a special status to the Western Armenian language standard in Armenia”

    Ah yes, the classic “possibility” to boot. This literal CLOWN actually thinks the traditional diaspora are as idiotic as the fools he tricked into believing all his lies and voting for him? What a joke.

    Hey Pashinyan, take your “bright ideas” and SHOVE IT. You are the last person we will look to to preserve our culture. If you care anything about Armenian culture, western or otherwise, take your incompetent self and your lying wife and disappear.

  6. It is dangerous to normalize relations with the Turks without a full admission by the Turks of the genocide. Pashinyan is more of an idiot and traitor if he goes for this.

    Also The Treaty of Sevres is still a legally binding document as it was signed by ALL parties. The Kars treaty was never signed by an Armenian government- thus it is not legally binding. the Turks know this better then some of our Armenian leaders it seems.

  7. Simonian, ” I finally see something positive coming from Pashinyan”. And I see something positive coming from the upcoming nationwide peaceful demonstration taking place on October 1st, at Freedom Square in Yerevan at 18:30 ( local Time ) led by ,Mr. Ara Papyan, former Ambassador of Armenia to Canada, and Mr. Jirayr Sefilian, a Lebanese-born Armenian military commander and Artsakh war hero. I urge my fellow Armenians worldwide, to take part in this important event. Let’s put an end to this nightmare, Let’s save our motherland before it’s too late.

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