Armenian PM under fire over poor handling of debate with Aliyev

2 March 2020 19:31 (UTC+04:00)

By Akbar Mammadov

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s lack of expertise in the Nagonro-Karabakh conflict and his inexperience in politics put him in a difficult situation during his debate with President Ilham Aliyev on the sidelines of the Munich Security Council held on February 15.

Weeks after the debate, Pashinyan is still being criticized by Armenian experts and media over his poor handling of the debate.

Commenting on the debate, Former Prime Minister of Armenia Hrant Bagratyan said that Pashinyan was in a difficult spot during the debate and had weak arguments. By comparison, Ilham Aliyev had an upper hand and a concrete agenda, Bagratyan said. It should be noted that during the debate Aliyev drew the agenda of the meeting, stressing that the international community must put a pressure on Armenia to de-occupy Azerbaijani lands.

However, the former minister praised both Heydar Aliyev and Ilham Aliyev in the Karabakh issue while criticizing Pashinyan because of his weak arguments and unprepared speech in the Munich conference.

Another criticism came from Armenian political scientist Gagik Hambaryan who said that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was absolutely unprepared for the meeting and failed to show resistance to Aliyev’s arguments.

The debate did not go unnoticed by international experts, either. US-Israeli professor Brenda Shaffer drew the attention to Nikol Pashinyan’s statement that his son is serving in the army in Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region. She also quoted Pashinyan as saying that ‘Nagorno Karabakh is a separate entity from Armenia.’

“Nikol Pashinyan, you stated at the Munich Security Council that Nagorno-Karabakh is a separate entity from Armenia. Then why is your own son serving his compulsory military service in Nagorno-Karabakh?” the US-based professor questioned.

Another Armenian political scientist Stepan Danielyan said that Pashinyan’s speech lacked variety and also showed the differences between the Pashinyan administration and the so-called authorities in the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region.  

“Pashinyan lays responsibility on the “Karabakh authorities”. The previous administration also used such tools. Armenia used to take advantage of Karabakh, to say “there are differences of opinion between us”, and this was done for the foreign policy,” Danielytan said.

Armenian press and social networking websites have been discussing non-stop the meeting between Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held in Munich on February 15 in which the Armenian side clearly lost due to the strength of Azerbaijan’s rightful arguments.

Munich conference also revealed controversies between the Armenian authorities and the opposition. What is more, it  showed that the differences between Aliyev and Pashinyan in terms of matters of politics and history are beyond comparison.