Armenian Economy Minister Resigns As Government Faces Pressure Over Nagorno-Karabakh Truce

By RFE/RL's Armenian Service

YEREVAN -- Armenia's economy minister, Tigran Khachatrian, has tendered his resignation amid sharp opposition criticism of the government over a recent Russia-brokered cease-fire that ended six weeks of fighting between Azerbaijani and ethnic Armenian forces over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Khachatrian's spokeswoman Anna Ohanian told RFE/RL on November 24 that the minister submitted a resignation letter a day earlier, adding that he “continues to fulfill his responsibilities until a relevant decision is made.” Ohanyan did not give further details.

The move follows the appointment of new defense and foreign ministers last week as Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian continues to reject opposition calls to resign over the cease-fire, which ended the heaviest fighting in decades in the region but has also been seen by many Armenians as a national defeat.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but the ethnic Armenians who make up most of the region's population reject Azerbaijani rule.

Under the Russia-brokered deal, which went into effect on November 10, ethnic Armenians are handing over swathes of territory in and around Nagorno-Karabakh. They had been governing their own affairs, with support from Armenia, since Azerbaijan's troops and Azeri civilians were pushed out of the region in a war that ended in a cease-fire in 1994.

The latest round of fighting is estimated to have killed more than 2,000 soldiers and civilians on both sides. Tens of thousands of ethnic Armenians were also displaced.