AFP

Armenia appoints new defence minister after Karabakh defeat 20 November 2020 - 14:49

Armenia on Friday appointed a new defence minister as protests raged after it lost a weeks-long war with traditional foe Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.The presidency said in a statement that the new defence minister was Vagharshak Harutunyan, an advisor to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on defence issues, who previously served as defence minister from 1999-2000.Pashinyan on November 9 announced a Russian-brokered peace accord that ended a brutal six-week war with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh that left thousands dead and tens of thousands displaced.Armenia agreed to hand over swathes of disputed territory controlled by Armenian separatists since a post-Soviet war in the 1990s.The accord sparked fury in Armenia, where thousands of protesters took to the streets and stormed government buildings in the capital Yerevan, calling Pashinyan a "traitor" and demanding his resignation. Pashinyan on Monday dismissed his foreign minister but ruled out his own resignation.David Tonoyan, who was replaced as defence minister on Friday, said in a statement that he hoped the move will help ease tensions. "The current situation demands that tensions be de-escalated. I'd like my resignation to be viewed precisely in the context of this logic," his statement said.Protesters again on Friday blocked several central streets in Yerevan and demanded Pashinyan's resignation.Armenian President Armen Sarkisian on Friday also replaced the country's labour and emergency situations ministers.

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