YEREVAN, Armenia :-
Armenia’s prime minister on Wednesday nominated a replacement for the country’s sitting chief of general staff, who he earlier declared to be officially dismissed.
According to a statement from premier Nikol Pashinyan’s office, a Feb. 25 decree dismissing Chief of General Staff Onik Gasparyan became legally effective on Wednesday as President Armen Sargsyan had neither signed nor appealed it at the Constitutional Court on time.
“As such, Onik Gasparyan is legally dismissed from his post from March 10,” the statement asserted. Gasparyan, along with other senior commanders, released a statement on Feb 25 calling for Pashinyan’s resignation.
Separately, Pashinyan’s spokesman Mane Gevorkyan on Wednesday announced that the prime minister proposed former Chief of General Staff Artak Davtyan returns to the post.
The official proposal was forwarded to the president, the statement noted.
President Sargsyan on Wednesday appealed to the Constitutional Court to review the legality of Gasparyan’s dismissal, his office said in another statement.
Gasparyan accused Pashinyan of violating the constitution with his dismissal and said on social media he would continue to serve the country and nation.
Coup attempt and unrest in Armenia
Pashinyan had blasted the military’s call for his resignation as a coup attempt and urged his supporters to take to the streets to resist.
He later announced Gasparyan’s dismissal on Facebook.
The unrest follows the end of a military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan last fall, widely seen as a victory for the latter.
Relations between the former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
During the six week-conflict, which ended with a Russian-brokered truce, Azerbaijan liberated several strategic cities and nearly 300 of its settlements and villages from Armenian occupation.
Before this, about 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory had been under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.