As the third ‘humanitarian ceasefire’ not unexpectedly ended before it began, and Armenia/ Nagorno-Karabakh continue to lose ground on the battlefield, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan appears to be facing the new reality. In an address broadcast live on ‘Facebook’ he stated that the Armenian people must be willing to make ‘painful’ mutual concessions in any peace agreement. However, he reiterated that this does not mean Armenia will capitulate entirely.
As South Front reported earlier today, Azerbaijan has triumphantly announced a string of military victories and advances today, even as the third ‘humanitarian ceasefire’ was supposed to take effect.
The Azerbaijani political and military leadership is clearly not interested in easing up on its military offensives when they appear to have a decisive upper hand on the battlefield. Were the negotiations then a deliberate ploy to keep up formal appearances of desiring peace, to try to trick the enemy into a false sense of security, and to string the international community along as a pack of fools? Or did they simply change their mind at the last minute?
Whatever the case may be, they have made substantial additional gains on the battlefield today. Meanwhile, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke live on Facebook, assuring that the Armenian side has been doing everything it can to ensure the US-brokered ceasefire is maintained.
“The Defence Army has shown restraint since morning, but at this moment we can state that the ceasefire has failed to be observed for a third time,” Pashinyan said.
“I talked to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last night and said that I was sure the ceasefire would be violated. I asked Secretary if the ceasefire is not respected, how are we going to find out which side violated it? Secondly, I asked what would be the consequences for the party breaching the ceasefire,” Pashinyan said.
He received no answer at the time, but hopes Washington officials will answer the questions today. Pashinyan also emphasized his conviction that the Presidents of Russia, United States and France are sincere in their efforts to help establish ceasefire.
I would like to state that the efforts of the international community, this time brokered by the #UnitedStates, to establish a ceasefire, have failed. As a result of continuous shelling by Azerbaijan, civilians were killed and wounded in #Artsakh today.@realDonaldTrump
— Nikol Pashinyan (@NikolPashinyan) October 26, 2020
The Prime Minister said that while the Armenian side has been very flexible in this period, Azerbaijan has not shown any willingness to accept anything. “What Azerbaijan wants is capitulation of Nagorno Karabakh at least.”
The Prime Minister stressed that while the Armenian nation is ready for mutual concessions, even painful ones, Armenian people are in no event ready for capitulation.
“Therefore, the Armenian nation should find resources to struggle and protect its interests,” the Prime Minister stated.
The international community appears powerless to influence events on the ground through diplomacy. So much so, that Azerbaijan is now acknowledging Turkey’s involvement and even the deployment of F-16’s to Azerbaijan, something they categorically denied previously.
Hours after the truce agreement took effect, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in a televised address that his country would “carry on to the end” until Armenians announced a withdrawal from its territory, while also saying he’d ordered his military to observe the truce.
Aliyev warned that as many as six Turkish F-16 fighter jets located in his country would intervene if Azerbaijan came under attack. “Our Turkish brothers kept them here to show us moral support,” he said. “If there’s an aggression against us from abroad, they’ll face the F-16s.” LINK
While Azerbaijan clearly enjoys the military advantage at the moment, they may yet find that the further they advance, the stiffer the resistance will become. The key question at this point seems to be how far are they intending to advance before they will be satisfied with a ceasefire and genuine peace negotiations?
The more they advance militarily and engage in disingenuous ceasefire talks, the more international opinion will shift to the Armenian side. And as Turkey’s role becomes more difficult to deny, if there appears to be no end in sight to their military offensive it will become more difficult for Russia to not become directly involved.
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