On Monday a senior government advisor to the Armenian government said they are preparing for a long war, and squarely blamed Turkey for the latest eruption of violence. Azerbaijan has not surprisingly accused Armenia of being responsible for the latest round of armed clashes. Their traditional allies, Russia and Turkey respectively, remain ‘on standby’ in case the situation deteriorates too far from the status quo in favour of one side or the other, in which case direct ‘major power’ participation and a completely unpredictable phase of escalation could occur.
Armenia is preparing for a long-standing war over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region, Vagharshak Harutyunyan, the chief adviser to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, said on Monday, adding that Turkey is pursuing it geopolitical interests in the conflict.
“We are preparing for the long-term war. Why? Because I keep telling that the main player here is not Azerbaijan, but Turkey. It pursues its own geopolitical interests. The duration of the war will depend on many factors, including how the fighting goes and the reaction of the international community,” Harutyunyan, who worked as the Armenian defence minister in the late 1990s, told a Latvian YouTube channel in an interview.
Meanwhile, also on Monday, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev spoke with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres by video conference, arguing that the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh should be settled on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions.
“The President of Azerbaijan said that the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be settled only on the basis of international law, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions demanding the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian Armed Forces from the occupied territories”, Aliyev’s press service said.
As of late Monday, Turkey still considered it unnecessary to deploy either its military or opposition fighters from Syria to the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region, Yasin Aktay, an aide to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told Sputnik.
“I think that Turkey will not participate [in the conflict] with its military strength, there is no need for that, technical assistance is enough. But the road is open if the need arises,” Aktay said.
Armenia and Russia have a similar standby arrangement. While this could act as a restraining influence on both sides, it could also have the opposite effect of encouraging one side or the other, or both, to escalate hostilities. Tass reported on Monday:
Armenia is ready to request additional military assistance from Russia but sees no reason to do it at the moment, Armenian Ambassador to Moscow Vardan Toganyan told the Govorit Moskva radio station on Monday.
According to him, Yerevan and Moscow continue to boost defense cooperation. “We believe that should the need arise, we will request Russia [for additional military assistance],” the envoy pointed out. “As of today, we don’t think that we need additional troops or other forces,” he added.
“However, we do believe that Russia has a major role in the Caucasus and is capable of using political methods to put an end to bloodshed,” Toganyan emphasized. LINK
The European Union is calling on all sides in the Karabakh conflict to do everything possible to prevent a new war and avoid foreign interference, EU Spokesman Peter Stano said Monday.
“We urge everyone to do everything they can in order to prevent an all-out war from breaking out,” Stano told a press conference.
The secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Stanislav Zas, is very concerned over the Armenian-Azerbaijani escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh, his spokesman Vladimir Zainetdinov said Monday, and is calling on both sides to launch a ceasefire and resume talks. Armenia is a CSTO member, while Azerbaijan is a former member.
Similarly, Belarus has expressed deep concern over the latest developments and offered to assist in calming the situation, without expressing an opinion over which if any of the sides it considers most culpable for the outbreak of armed clashes.
Belarus is ready to do everything possible to promote dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan and assist the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
“We are not just urging, but sincerely asking Azerbaijan and Armenia, which are both our important partners, to halt combat operations, reject use of weapons and find ways toward peaceful settlement, including through the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Minsk group. We confirm readiness to provide any assistance that is needed in order to promote dialogue between the sides in this format or other formats that they find appropriate,” the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The German government also considers the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh to be very dangerous and has called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to immediately halt combat operations, using mechanisms of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
“The government sees the escalation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict as a very dangerous development. We call on both sides to immediately cease fire and resume negotiations. There is a special platform for this purpose, the OSCE Minsk group.”
The ‘Minsk Group’ is co-chaired by the US, France and Russia, and is tasked with facilitating negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The German Foreign Ministry noted that Berlin is maintaining contact with both sides through its embassies.
Pakistan has declared unequivocally that its supports Azerbaijan’s position in the conflict.
“Pakistan stands with the brotherly nation of Azerbaijan and supports its right of self-defence. We support Azerbaijan’s position on Nagorno-Karabakh, which is in line with the several unanimously adopted UN Security Council resolutions”, the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Islamabad also called on Armenia to cease its military activity to prevent further tensions. LINK
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