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Pashinyan's Euronews Interview: "If There's War, Somebody Somewhere Did Something Wrong"

Pashinyan's Euronews Interview

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan gave an interview to Euronews TV, Armenian Government’s Press office reports.

Euronews – I have spoken to a journalist inside Stepanakert, who described pretty much the same you are saying. I want to ask you about 2020. Thousand of people have lost their lives, soldiers, and civilians, I was here, in Armenia, and I went to Nagorno Karabakh during that time. I spoke to mothers of fallen soldiers. O also witnessed the pain and devastation of the other side trough the work of my colleagues in Azerbaijan. But I remember this one mother in Armenia, who told me she blames the death of her son on politicians, who were trained in the art of diplomacy, but were still falling in the traps of war. Do you think that your mission is to win a war or to negotiate peace?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – You know in any case war is wrong. If there is war, somebody somewhere did something wrong, or several people in several places did something wrong. But from the other side, what’s the cause of war? The cause of war is the impossibility of reaching durable reach or maintaining peace, and another question is if that impossibility genuine, is it real, is that authentic.

You spoke about a parent, a mother, who spoke about politicians. Of course, I understand I accept, I am in no way contesting anything a fallen soldier’s mother, wife, child says. But we forget a circumstance – a politician is a human too. It’s not like they are a special genetic breed. My son was in the war as well, my wife was in the war as well. And now you are asking a question, which is a very serious question, very legitimate question, but I think there are so much depths to it.

Throughout our existence humanity have spoken about the need to avoid wars, about the need to reach peace. And let’s assume this is the building where the politicians were bad, are bad, but what about the thousands buildings around the world? That would be an easy explanation - there are people and there are politicians. So it’s because of these bad politicians who are not allowing good people to get on well with their lives. Which is by and large true, but with one misunderstanding. In the next minute, especially in a democratic society, they can switch places, a politician can become human and a human can become a politician, a government official. And the problem is that this cycle has been going on for millennia.

Euronews – You mentioned something very important. In a way there seems to be in this region a very particular and tragic cycle, where the triumph of one side can be only achieved through the capitulation of the other side. Today I spoke to a young Armenian, who told me she is of a generation of independence, and she said back when she was very young there used to be talks mediated, organized I guess by Georgia between Azeri and Armenian kids. And she says she remembers that very fondly, because they could actually talk, kids could actually talk. Do you think peace, if it is brought up by politicians, signing a peace deal, can be implemented amid so much pain and heartbreak, or instead it should be built from the bottom up.

Prime Minister NIkol Pashinyan – Yes, of course I believe. To continue what I said, let me pay attention to one nuance. Politicians really create, they generate the public mood, but they also bear the public mood, and they influence the public mood, and they are influenced by public mood. This is a very complex system, but you spoke about young people. I do remember in 2018 I proposed such an idea. I could see in the social media, Armenian and Azerbaijani users engaging in a very aggressive exchange of views and in a public press conference, I urged the Armenian Azerbaijani users of the social media, and this was mostly happening in YouTube, this is where they encountered one another, they would leave comments under videos, to use that platform for speaking, for dialogue, instead of cursing each other. So I made an appeal at that time, but later it turned out the appeal did not have sufficient results of maybe we did not work consistently enough for that.

And regarding the war logic, we should never forget, conditionally speaking, the factor of the first blood shed, because whenever there is bloodshed, there is a victim, there is a casualty, this is a profound social-psychological, political and public moment. That’s very hard for both the public and the politicians. In the reality there is no such division. I reiterate, politicians do influence the public mood, but they are also influenced the public mood. So it’s very hard sometimes to opt for solutions, concessions and decision which profoundly might mean that those who dies in the past, dies for no reason. That’s a problem everywhere.

You spoke about the mother of the soldier who died. Imagine what an important factor it is that you have now made it a subject to discuss. But before that, or after that even, a question may come up. If you now make these concessions or mutual concessions, what about our children, what did they die for? Nobody has the answer to that question, nobody can give an answer to that question. And you should know that this question lies on the table of any politician. Even if a person understands that it’s important not to have any future casualties, they always know that they also have to get the answer to the second question: what about those who died in the past? what did they die for? was that sacrifice for no reason? Again, the politicians will be accused of taking those people away and getting them killed. What would be then the purpose, the meaning, the mission of all that happening? It’s very hard to explain to people that you know your son or your brother died for the future peace. How can you explain someone that you can die for peace, if peace is our whole purpose?

Euronews – Do you lose sleep over what happened to your country three years ago, all those deaths of civilians and soldiers?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – Obviously and naturally yes. It’s very hard to set these thoughts aside for a second and continue doing daily work.

Euronews - Mr. Prime Minister, one final question to you. I want to know if you have a message to the other side, but not the political leaders and the politicians that you meet in these talks, but the people of Azerbaijan. Do you have a message to those who may be watching us right now?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – You know I think it’s not a good genre because when two politicians are speaking with one another, it’s the two peoples speaking to one another, because on the one side is the person elected by those people, and on the other side is the person elected by the other people. So, therefore, everything that I said now is an international platform, this is also addressed to those people, but if there is something to communicate, I would say what I have been saying from the start, Everything I said is also addressed to the people of Azerbaijan. But in those cases sentences that people normally say – oh, we have long lived here and we will be long living here. I think all the words have already been said.

By the way, there is perhaps something which I would address to the public of Armenia and the public of Azerbaijan, because the publics of Armenia and Azerbaijan both must demand peace from their governments, it should be defined as a public demand and also peace, flexibility and skill to meet that demand.


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