YEREVAN, Armenia

The Armenian military on Thursday maintained its call for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to resign, saying the call was not made under any pressure.

In a statement, the General Staff of the Armenian army said the call is “a clear belief and stance to serve the salvation of the homeland.”

“We are confirming our position. The call for the resignation was not made as a result of pressure,” the statement said.

Former Armenian President Robert Kocharian also expressed support to the military’s call and said: “At this moment of truth, I call on you [Armenian people] to be the owner of our state and to stand by our Armed Forces.”

“The government that lost the war and handed over lands must leave. This [resignation call] is the guarantee of our national revival,” he said on social media. 

Meanwhile, opposition parties in Armenia started collecting signatures for the parliament to convene an extraordinary session, according to local sources.

The country’s National Security Service also released a statement calling on citizens heading to streets to refrain from “provocative actions”.

Earlier today, the Armenian military released a statement calling on Pashinyan to step down.

The premier blasted the military’s call as a “coup attempt,” and urged his supporters to take to the streets to resist. He later announced the dismissal of the chief of General Staff 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.

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