Nikol Pashinyan cuts short visit to Syunik province

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YEREVAN, December 21. /ARKA/. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who left on Monday morning for a visit to the southern Syunik province, announced that he was returning to Yerevan.

Pashinyan planned to meet with local residents ‘to demonstrate his respect and reverence for residents of Syunik’ and answer their questions, regarding the delimitation of the border with neighboring Azerbaijan.

Some residents of Syunik have been staging protest actions being outraged by the dismantling of Armenian military posts at strategically important heights and demarcation of border on positions that now border on the territory of Azerbaijan.

From early Monday morning, the residents blocked all roads leading to Goris and other cities of the region, not wanting to let Pashinyan’s motorcade pass. The participants, in particular, expressed their indignation at the fact that a few days ago a group of Azerbaijani servicemen with their flag was seen in the region – near the village of Vorotan and near the Kapan airport.

“Now I made sure that the road was blocked so that to hide that the atmosphere in Goris, Kapan, Kajaran, Meghri is the same as in Sisian. We will not go to forceful actions, especially when the country is mourning the victims of the war. We are returning to Yerevan. I owe one visit to Goris, Kapan, Kajaran and Meghri. Peace be to our victims,” Pashinyan wrote on his Facebook page.

During the visit, Pashinyan managed to visit one of the villages of Syunik, as well as the city of Sisian, where he spoke to the people. In the church of St. Gregory in Sisian, the priest refused to shake hands with the prime minister.

On the eve, Goris mayor Arush Arushanyan called on the townspeople to block the entrance to Syunik in order to prevent the passage of Pashinyan’s motorcade. The mayor stressed that this action was devoid of political overtones. Arushanyan stated that the prime minister is alienating the Armenian lands and undermining the inviolability of Syunik and stressed that the people of Syunik will fight for dignity, security and physical existence.

At around 5.00 on Monday, Arushanyan was detained. The Police, in response to the request of the Novosti-Armenia news agency, confirmed the detention, indicating that a criminal case had been initiated

Arushanyan’s deputy Irina Yolyan claimed that he had been kidnapped. She stated that she had spoken with his lawyers, who had not been able to obtain any information either from the police or from the investigating authorities. The Human Rights Defender was informed about mayor’s detention.

After the leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan signed a statement on the cessation of all hostilities in Artsakh on November 9, more than 190 settlements in Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent seven regions came under the control of Azerbaijan. As a result, the borders of the Syunik province, including its administrative center Kapan, appeared to be in close proximity to the new borders of Azerbaijan, drawn up back in Soviet times. -0-

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