RFI

Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenian Defense Minister resigns, weakened Pachinian

This resignation, this Friday, November 20, comes as Azerbaijan regained control of the district of Aghdam, ceded by the Armenian separatists of Nagorno-Karabakh, at the end of an agreement to end hostilities under Russian patronage which put end of six weeks of war. Armenian Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan has tendered his resignation, the daily Aravot reported on Friday, ten days after the signing of a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh which enshrined Azerbaijan’s victory after six weeks of fighting against the Armenian separatist forces.Davit Tonoyan had been in this post since May 2018. A few hours after his resignation, the head of the Armenian government replaced him by one of his advisers, Vagharchak Haroutiounian, who had previously been a minister of Defense in 1999-2000. The political crisis is therefore intensifying in Armenia: Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian had already resigned on Monday, November 16. At the origin of this crisis, the agreement of November 9 on the end of hostilities, which is for the Armenia a humiliating defeat. He is denounced by the opposition, which accuses Prime Minister Nikol Pachinian of being a “traitor” and demands, so far without success, his resignation. The power has denounced a plot to assassinate the head of government. The street demonstrations remained limited to a few thousand people. Negotiated by Vladimir Putin, this agreement which does not pass in Yerevan enshrines the Armenian defeat after six weeks of fighting which left thousands dead. The self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic survives, even if it loses many territories. Three-step retrocessions In addition to gains in Nagorno-Karabakh itself, notably its second city Shusha (or Chouci for the Armenians), Baku takes over the seven Azerbaijani districts which constituted the security glacis of the separatists. Four were surrendered by arms, and three have been or will be surrendered. By regaining control of the Aghdam district this Friday, Azrbaijan is therefore making the first of three retrocessions of territories controlled by the Armenian forces for nearly thirty years. Kalbajar will follow on November 25 and Lachin on December 1. Some 2,000 Russian peacekeepers are being deployed to ensure that the belligerents comply with the ceasefire. Pashinian at bay, Aliev triumphant “Congratulations to all the citizens of Aghdam. You are no longer refugees, you will return to your ancestral lands, ”Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev told television after his army entered the district. We liberated the region from Armenian fascism! From country to country, the contrast is stark between a beleaguered Armenian prime minister and a triumphant Azerbaijani president. Ilham Aliev appeared this week in military fatigues and alongside his wife, the country’s vice-president, in some emblematic places of reconquered territories. ► See also: Nagorno-Karabakh war: phosphorus bombs, plague for the environment and health