İrem UZUN -TDO- Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has warned of an attempted military coup, after the country's armed forces said he and his cabinet must resign. The army "must obey the people and elected authorities," he told thousands of supporters in the capital Yerevan.
"What happened today is that some people tried to put our military staff in a non-democratic process and a military coup," Pashinyan said. "I am sure that whoever signed that document did so by obligation by their chiefs. I’m telling you that your job is to defend Armenia, the army can’t involve themselves in politics. As an elected prime minister, I am ordering all generals, officers and soldiers: do your job of protecting the country's borders and territorial integrity," he said during the rally.
Pashinyan has been under intense pressure over his handling of the conflict for control of the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region, but has ignored repeated calls to resign for losing the territory to Azerbaijan. After backing the prime minister for months, the military's general staff on Thursday joined calls for him to step down, saying in a statement that he and his cabinet "are not capable of taking adequate decisions."
Armenia's opposition, who have been calling for Pashinyan's resignation since a ceasefire deal in November, urged him to heed the military's demand. "We call on Nikol Pashinyan not to lead the country towards civil war and to avoid bloodshed. Pashinyan has one last chance to avoid turmoil," Prosperous Armenia, the country's largest opposition party, said in a statement.