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Despite all factors, we are determined to protect our independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity: Prime Minister

A regular Cabinet meeting took place today, chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

Before discussing the issues on the agenda of the session, Prime Minister Pashinyan made a speech, referring to the aggressive actions carried out by the Azerbaijani armed forces on the southeastern part of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border on September 28. Below is the full transcript of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's speech.

"Good morning, dear colleagues.

We are starting the work of the regular Cabinet meeting of September 29, 2022.

You are certainly aware, dear colleagues, that yesterday in the south-eastern part of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, the armed forces of Azerbaijan carried out another provocation and attacked our unit carrying out engineering works. This is another manifestation of Azerbaijani aggression. Moreover, I have to note that the engineering works were being carried out in the territory of Armenia, and the Azerbaijani units that fired were also located in the territory of the Republic of Armenia. This is the continuation of aggressive actions and aggression. The territory of Armenia is occupied, and our position is unequivocal: the armed forces of Azerbaijan must withdraw from the territory of the Republic of Armenia.

Also, I want to emphasize the following nuance: you are aware that we have started a large-scale process of reforms of the Armed Forces, and with such provocations, Azerbaijan is simply trying to make sure that the Republic of Armenia does not have the opportunity to carry out the reforms of the Armed Forces. You are also aware that in all directions, in all cases, where it is possible, unfortunately, they have some success in the sense of relations with our allies, they try to prevent the supply of arms and ammunition to Armenia wherever it is possible. We have cases where hundreds of millions of dollars have been paid, but commitment to supply arms to Armenia are not fulfilled, including by allied countries. This is, of course, a painful reality, and we must deeply analyze this situation.

But in any case, I also want to emphasize that we have to deeply record and understand one more thing: all this is happening with one long-term or maybe not-long-term goal, that we give up our statehood, we give up our sovereignty, we make concessions on our territorial integrity. But I also want to emphasize that despite all factors, we are determined to defend our independence, our sovereignty, our territorial integrity. And glory to all those heroes who stand for the defense of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia.

You should also know that we are working very actively with all possible international partners. Of course, as a responsible member of the international community, we listen, accept and agree to all the calls that issues should be resolved diplomatically and peacefully. But, as we also see, Azerbaijan is continuously resorting to aggressive actions, and in this situation, we consistently offer the following formula to our international partners, and we believe that a solution can be the deployment of an international observation mission on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, it can be of the UN Security Council, OSCE or any other international organization.

In any case, I want to emphasize also at the Cabinet meeting that one of the goals of all this is to divert Armenia from its normal life cycle. Of course, it is clear that life in such conditions cannot be considered normal. It is clear that everyone, starting from the Cabinet members to the entire public, is constantly waiting for news with tension, and every news, every such alert distracts everyone from the normal cycle of their life, the normal cycle of work, and this is understandable. It cannot be otherwise. But I want to draw our attention to the following fact that yes, with that bitterness, with that bitterness, each of us should be hyper-focused on our daily work, because it is extremely important. The development of the country as a whole, the normal functioning of the economy, the normal functioning of the systems are extremely important and cornerstone for our defense capability. And no matter how bitter it is, I will address everyone with that appeal and request, so that we don't forget about this circumstance.

In any case, of course, our military and law enforcment structures, special services, the Security Council, our diplomatic services are constantly working on this issue, and we must continue to raise our political voice, formulate and also implement our proposed agenda. We must clearly state, our public must know, that it is our strategic approach that we must consistently and firmly protect our independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

I should also note that it is obvious to me that we should move in 3 main strategic directions. Of course, 3 directions do not exclude the others, but I want to emphasize 3 directions. First, we must make every effort to establish lasting peace and stability around Armenia. Second, we need to consistently pursue our education reforms, and we need significant, large public investment in education. And the next, consistent reforms of the Armed Forces, army of Armenia. These 3 priorities must become the locomotive by which we must guide our country through this, let's say, global storm, because unfortunately we live in times when we see what’s going on in the world.

I want to make it clear, although we have talked about it, what is happening in the world today. Of course, we all know about the details from the news. But the following happens, and I will not consider it an exaggeration what I will say now. in fact, the world order, or in the vernacular, the world, is collapsing before our eyes. There is no exaggeration in this. And we have to work, recording this reality.

Today, in fact, I will say that at least in the Eurasian region there is no country and state that will not receive its share from this shock. And we must be double flexible, double intellectual, double resistant in this process of collapse, so that we can bring our country, as I said before, through this stormy ocean to a peaceful harbor. For this we need special will, special wisdom, special diligence, special consistency. We must, however, reconsider the formulas of thinking by which we have been guided; I mean, as a state and as a people. We need to retest those formulas and make sure they are viable. If we are not convinced of the viability, then certain corrections should be made in those formulas to ensure the viability, resistance and durability of our country.

This is for preface. If there are any comments on the topic, plase take the floor, Mr. Kerobyan”.

Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan - Honorable Mr. Prime Minister, dear colleagues, I want to remind you that the economic indexes of the first 8 months are already known, and Armenia has a fairly high economic activity index of 13.9 percent, while in August it was 18.4 percent. We see companies adjusting plans to some extent, of course, but we are trying our best to encourage them not to deviate from their investment and operational plans and to continue working with full force so that they can contribute to our economic empowerment, and therefore, to overall empowerment.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - I agree, Mr. Kerobyan, I actually meant it a bit metaphorically, but that's exactly what I meant, yes, we should do everything to ensure the normal functioning of our economy. That's an important priority for us. So far, we have succeeded, and I am sure it will be successful from now on, if we are guided by the resolutions I mentioned.


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