Where is Nikol Pashinian? Armenia's National Security Service to U. S. Embassy – WikiLeaks, 2008

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WikiLeaks-Armenia No 79

2008-03-28

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 YEREVAN 000267

 

SUBJECT:

NSS ASKS WHETHER U.S. EMBASSY HIDING PASHINIAN

 

Classified By: CDA Joseph Pennington On March 24, Colonels Armen Aloyan and Vahagn Vardumian, respectively chief and deputy chief of the National Security Service [NSS] international liaison division, sought an urgent, “unofficial” meeting with RSO. They said they were speaking on behalf of the NSS chief personally, though informally. The two officers said there have been persistent rumors in Yerevan that the U.S. Embassy is hiding pro-LTP opposition activist/newspaper editor Nikol Pashinian, who is wanted by Armenian authorities for his part in the March 1-2 events. They asked if it was true, to which RSO replied that he personally had no knowledge of Pashinian’s whereabouts or of any U.S. Embassy contact with Pashinian. RSO also pointed out that the NSS’s own uniformed division police stand 24/7 posts maintaining constant observation over the embassy compound. Aloyan and Vardumian said that they had no reason to believe that Pashinian was being hidden by the U.S. Embassy and theorized that he has already left the country (quite possibly to Georgia), but said that if he were here, he should be instructed to leave the embassy compound immediately. After consultation with the CDA, RSO called Aloyan back later the same day to more categorically assure that Pashinian is not and has not been on embassy premises at any recent time. (COMMENT: This odd incident suggests to us that the NSS is under intense pressure to catch Pashinian — of all LTP’s aides the one who regularly used the most radical rhetoric — and the NSS apparently has no idea where he may be. We have had no contact with Pashinian in many months. We have long abstained from direct interaction with Pashinian and have not customarily invited him to embassy functions, as we viewed him as an unconstructive radical figure. END COMMENT.)