YEREVAN, October 16. /ARKA/. U.S.Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, in an interview with Erick Erickson of The Erick Erickson Show on WSB Atlanta, expressed hope that Armenians will be able to defend against what the Azerbaijanis are doing.
He said that what’s taking place in Azerbaijan and Armenia today is dangerous. “We now have the Turks, who have stepped in and provided resources to Azerbaijan, increasing the risk, increasing the firepower that’s taking place in this historic fight over this place called Nagorno-Karabakh, a small territory with about 150,000 people,” Pompeo said.
He recalled that it’s a longstanding conflict and said that the resolution of that conflict ought to be done through negotiation and peaceful discussions, not through armed conflict, and certainly not with third party countries coming in to lend their firepower to what is already a powder keg of a situation.
“We – we’re hopeful that the Armenians will be able to defend against what the Azerbaijanis are doing, and that they will all, before that takes place, get the ceasefire right, and then sit down at the table and try and sort through this – that is – what is a truly historic and complicated problem set,” Pompeo said in his interview.
War in Artsakh
On September 27, at 07:10, Azerbaijani troops launched an offensive along the entire length of the contact line in Artsakh, but were thrown back in several directions. Intense fighting continues in the south, southeast and north of the front line. Turkey joined the aggression. Residential areas are being shelled as well.
The Azerbaijani side suffered losses in manpower (more than 5,489 people killed and thousands wounded) and equipment, in particular, 176 UAVs, 4 units of TOS – 1A, 4 Smerch and Uragan MLRS, more than 521 tanks and other armored vehicles, 16 helicopters and 19 aircraft. According to the data of the defense ministry of Armenia and Artsakh, more than 550 Armenian servicemen were killed and hundreds wounded on the Armenian side. Also 32 civilians were killed and more than 100 wounded on the Armenian side.
On October 9, following the meeting of the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Jeyhun Bayramov, with the mediation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, an agreement was reached on a ceasefire from 12:00 on October 10 for humanitarian purposes for the exchange of prisoners of war and the bodies of the dead. Armenia and Azerbaijan, with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, on the basis of the basic principles of the settlement, are starting substantive negotiations with the aim of achieving a peaceful settlement as soon as possible.
Martial law and general mobilization were declared in Artsakh and Armenia.
About Karabakh Conflict
The Karabakh conflict broke out in 1988 when Karabakh, mainly populated by Armenians, declared its independence from Azerbaijan.
On December 10, 1991, a few days after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a referendum took place in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the majority of the population (99.89%) voted for secession from Azerbaijan.
Afterwards, large-scale military operations began. As a result, Azerbaijan lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven regions adjacent to it. Some 30,000 people were killed in this war and about one million people fled their homes.
On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations.
Since 1992, talks brokered by OSCE Minsk Group are being held over peaceful settlement of the conflict.
The group is co-chaired by USA, Russia and France.