Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan armenia
© armradio.amPrime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (center) visits the Tavush region, the epicenter of the ongoing civil disobedience actions.
As thousands of protesters camp out near the National Assembly building demanding his ouster, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced June 12 that a peace deal with Azerbaijan is close to being finalized.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have held multiple rounds of talks aimed at delimiting their mutual border and agreeing on a lasting settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As part of the peace process, Pashinyan earlier in 2024 agreed to a territorial handover to Azerbaijan that sparked widespread domestic opposition. Speaking with Armenian journalists, Pashinyan described the draft treaty text as "quite mature."

Also on June 12, Pashinyan told a government session that while officials hadn't worked out the details of Armenia's departure from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), there is "no alternative" to withdrawal. "We won't go back," he said.

Pashinyan's comments seems certain to blunt the momentum of the protest movement, led by a prominent cleric, Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, who is pushing for the government's resignation.

Galstanyan emerged as an opposition figurehead after launching civil disobedience actions in the country's northern Tavush region. He then led a march on Yerevan, holding continuous rallies, and often clashing with the local police.

On June 9, Galstanyan announced plans for four days of protest to increase the pressure on Pashinyan's government. "For four days, we will stay in the streets and squares, and with our determination and will, we will achieve victory," Galstanyan told the crowd, urging parliament to hold an impeachment vote. Some protesters set up an encampment near parliament.

Comment: Footage of the protests:

The governing majority in parliament ruled out the possibility of holding an extraordinary session to consider the government's impeachment, scheduling the next session for June 17. Without sufficient support in parliament, the opposition's chances of success of forcing the government's ouster appear to be diminishing by the day.

While claiming an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal is near, Pashinyan acknowledged one major obstacle remains to be cleared. Azerbaijan has called on Armenia to adjust its constitution to reflect the present geopolitical reality of the Azerbaijani reconquest of Karabakh, completed in the fall of 2023. Pashinyan stated on June 12 that "the amendment of the constitution cannot be part of the negotiation because it is exclusively our internal agenda."