Armenian-Americans erupted in anger and frustration this week as they heard the shocking news that Armenian leader Nikola Pashinyan had signed a peace deal with Azerbaijan and Russia to stop the fighting in the Artsakh region.
Widely viewed as an unnecessary surrender, the deal caused a violent uproar in the Parliament of Armenia, where armed protesters stormed the dais, shouting slogans and beating the Speaker, Ararat Mirzoyan, who needed surgery for his injuries.
Over 1,900 Russian peacekeeping forces are now deployed to the disputed ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh after the six-week war that had flared up suddenly after decades of simmering unrest, killing thousands.
The new deal cedes to Azerbaijan a disputed swath of land and several key towns which had in effect been controlled by Armenia since 1994.
Opposition Armenian politicians angrily demanded PM Pashinyan’s resignation, while protesters also stormed his office. Pashinyan stated later that a computer and a wristwatch had been stolen from the office.
At press time, Pashinyan is still functioning as Prime Minister, and he posted on Facebook that he was still in the country. However, he faces an extremely difficult task of convincing his countrymen, and the members of the Armenian Diaspora worldwide, that he had needed to sign the agreement, due to the heat loss of life, as he had stated in his reasoning.
The Armenian Assembly of America issued a statement on Monday regarding the deal, saying that the group was “deeply troubled” by the Russian-brokered agreement.
Their statement is in full below:
“The Armenian Assembly of America is deeply troubled by the reported agreement signed by the Russian Federation, the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the Republic of Armenia to end the war in Artsakh.
“Azerbaijan launched this military offensive against Artsakh with the open and full support of Turkey, which also recruited and financed jihadist mercenaries in direct contravention of U.S. policy to stop the spread of global terrorism.
“We wholeheartedly stand with the people of Artsakh and Armenia. We fully support the people of Artsakh’s right to self-determination. The human, material and emotional toll that the war has taken on the Armenian people is immeasurable and will require significant humanitarian relief from the United States and the international community.
“Our prayers are with the families of the fallen defenders of Artsakh, the wounded soldiers, and the tens of thousands of displaced civilians of this tragic war.
“We call upon fellow Armenians throughout the world to stand united with the people of Artsakh and extend every measure of support and comfort to the more than one hundred thousand refugees that have fled to Armenia.
“We further urge the United States to fully enforce Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act and to impose sanctions against Turkey. The United States must not allow its leadership role in the OSCE-led peace process to be usurped by the authoritarian regimes of Russia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan.”
On its part, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) an advocacy group for all Armenian-Americans, issued an urgent call via Twitter to contact American political leaders about the situation in Armenia.
Starting Tuesday morning:
NON-STOP CALLS TO CONGRESShttps://t.co/DFd3ZeG7sm
— ANCA (@ANCA_DC) November 10, 2020