YEREVAN, March 10. /ARKA./ Onik Gasparyan, who was dismissed as chief of staff of Armenian armed forces by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, said in a statement that his dismissal runs counter to the country’s constitution.
‘My position has not changed: both the government statement on my dismissal and the entire dismissal process are unconstitutional, which once again confirm that a patriotic solution to the current crisis can be ensured only as a result of the resignation of the prime minister and early parliamentary elections,’ he said.
Gasparyan said also that he took his case to the Administrative Court.
‘I will continue my service to the Motherland and the Armenian people in a different status. Dear generals, officers and soldiers, the exclusive mission of the Armed Forces is to ensure the security of the homeland, therefore I urge you to continue your selfless, patriotic service exclusively to the Motherland and people in the name of the development of the Armed Forces and the strengthening of Armenia and Artsakh.’
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in a Facebook post today that his decision to dismiss the chief of staff of the armed forces Onik Gasparyan has come into force.
Pashinyan ordered the dismissal of Gasparyan after the latter and more than 40 other top ranking army generals demanded his resignation in a statement on February 25.
However, under the Armenian law the prime minister’s order needs to be approved by president Armen Sarkissian, who declined to do so twice.
In Pashinyan today’s Facebook post there is a link to the government’s decree that says that the dismissal is now legally effective as the president had not signed the decree within the given timeframe and had not either asked the Constitutional Court to verify the constitutionality of his decree.
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-