YEREVAN, March 2. /ARKA/. Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian did not sign a draft decree resubmitted by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan seeking the resignation of the chief of the staff of the armed forces Onik Gasparyan, Sarkissian’s press service said today.
It said the president emphasizes immediate resolution of the political crisis related to the resignation Onik Gasparyan.
To this end, the president had a series of meetings with the Prime Minister, Onik Gasparyan and the high command of the Armed Forces. The president also looked into prime minister’s explanations why he did not agree to his objections to signing the decree.
“It is obvious that the current situation has resulted from disagreements between political and military leaderships during and after the war (in Nagorno-Karabakh), sometimes with highly personalized approaches. Legally problematic interpretations, legal practice and possible gaps in the law, which are grounds for objection to the signing of the decree, cannot be ignored either,” the press service said.
In his previous statements, the president emphasized that an early settlement of the issue within the framework of the Constitution is of paramount importance for the security and stability of Armenia and Artsakh and is an absolute necessity to prevent further schism in society, to restore the unity of the people and public solidarity and to get out of the current situation and reach a final decision.
“The President of the Republic decided not to sign the draft decision. At the same time, guided by paragraph 4 of part 1 of Article 169 of the Constitution, the President will submit a separate application to the Constitutional Court with a request to determine the issue of compliance with the Constitution of the law “On military service and the status of a serviceman” dated November 15, 2017, ” the press service said.
The press service noted that the president, adhering to his commitment, will continue steps aimed at further stabilizing the situation, and calls on everyone, using the presidential institution as a platform, to find a negotiated comprehensive solution to all existing problems.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has been facing opposition demands to resign since he signed a peace deal in November with Azerbaijani and Russian leaders to end the 44-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh that claimed thousands of young lives, and saw Azerbaijan reclaim control over large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas that had been held by Armenian forces for more than a quarter of a century.
The standoff has intensified after Pashinyan fired a deputy chief of the army’s general staff Tiran Khachatryan who reportedly laughed off his claim that only 10% of Russia-supplied Iskander missiles that Armenia used in the conflict exploded.
After Khachatryan’s sacking the chief of the army staff Onik Gasparyan and more than 40 other high-ranking army officers signed under a statement demanding Pashinyan’s resignation. Pashinyan reiterated by issuing an order to sack Gasparyan and called the demand as attempted coup.
However, Armenia’s largely ceremonial president, Armen Sarkissian refused to sign it and sent back to Pashinyan’s office. “Political struggle must not go beyond the bounds of the law, it should not lead to shocks and instability,” he said in a statement.
Pashinyan quickly resubmitted the demand warning that the president could be impeached if he fails to endorse the move.-0-