Prevention of escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone meets interests of all CSTO member countries

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YEREVAN, December 4. /ARKA/. Prevention of escalation of violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone meets the interests of all the countries, which make the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said today during a Q&A session in the parliament.

Pashinyan said the CSTO member countries are beginning to better understand Armenia’s concerns regarding sales of weapons to Azerbaijan by CSTO member countries. According to Pashinyan, some latest public statements coming from CSTO member countries confirm this.

“We must protect our national interests on all platforms, especially in the context of national security. The CSTO is the security system that Armenia is involved in. If you noticed, in Bishkek (during a summit of leaders of CSTO member countries I raised this question in a completely different context, expressing confidence that the CSTO has all the levers to prevent a new escalation of violence in our region and in Nagorno-Karabakh, in particular,” Pashinyan said.

According to the head of the Armenian government, as long as the conflict remains unresolved, Azerbaijan can become a convenient springboard for Islamic extremists, who, having lost influence in Syria, are looking for new territories for their activities.

According to Pashinyan, Azerbaijan is geographically a very convenient platform which extremists can use to spread their actions in all directions – to Iran in the south, to Russia in the north, to Georgia in the west and to Central Asian countries in the east.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict erupted into armed clashes after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s as the predominantly Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan sought to secede from Azerbaijan and declared its independence backed by a successful referendum.

On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations. A truce was brokered by Russia in 1994, although no permanent peace agreement has been signed. Since then, Nagorno-Karabakh and several adjacent regions have been under the control of Armenian forces of Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh is the longest-running post-Soviet era conflict and has continued to simmer despite the relative peace of the past two decades, with snipers causing tens of deaths a year.

On April 2, 2016, Azerbaijan launched military assaults along the entire perimeter of its contact line with Nagorno-Karabakh. Four days later a cease-fire was reached. -0—

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