YEREVAN, July 24. /ARKA/. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan presented Thursday at a regular government meeting Armenia’s approaches to the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, taking into account the tense situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in the Tavush region.
The prime minister said that Armenia cannot ignore the fact that Azerbaijan is committing military provocations for the second time since 2016 despite of the negotiation process and calls from the OSCE Minsk Group to refrain from exacerbations.
“The unified security system of Armenia and Artsakh must be strengthened. From this point of view, I consider it extremely important to cooperate closely with Artsakh and give this cooperation a new content corresponding to new challenges. Secondly, Artsakh must become a full-fledged party of the negotiations. Third, Azerbaijan must publicly refuse to use force and anti-Armenian rhetoric,” he said.
“The negotiations make sense if Azerbaijan abandons its maximalist approach and is ready to make concessions. There can be no concessions in the issues of unconditional recognition of the right to self-determination of the people of Artsakh, the security of the people of Armenia and NKR,” the prime minister said.
He pointed out that Azerbaijan was shelling peaceful settlements. Therefore, the countries supplying it with weapons must clearly understand that the use of these weapons against civilians is a crime.
“One gets the impression that it is not Azerbaijan that is fighting against the citizens and the Armed Forces of Armenia, but international corporations producing lethal weapons together with their specialists,” the premier said.
He said that the rights of residents of border villages are being violated. Claims that these rights can only be respected after a peace treaty are unacceptable.
About escalation of tension on Armenian-Azerbaijani border
Since July 12, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces have been carrying out aggressive actions against Armenia in the north-east direction of the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border. The enemy attempted to violate the state border in the Tavush region of Armenia using a tank, mortars, howitzers, drones and Grad MLRS. The shelling targeted Armenian strongholds, several villages and the city of Berd. After the lull of July 15, on the night of July 16, Azerbaijan troops again attempted raids in the Aygepara section, but after suffering numerous losses, they was thrown back, continuing shelling of the settlements.
The Armenian Armed Forces is providing a proportionate response to periodic shelling and suppressing the enemy’s activity. For the entire period, the air defense units of the Armenian army destroyed Azerbaijan’s control system of UAVs, 13 drones, a tank and artillery batteries.
According to preliminary data, as of Thursday, 36 soldiers were injured as a result of attacks on Armenian strongholds (16 of them were light abrasions, 20 were hospitalized and received medical care, one was in serious condition), 4 soldiers were killed and 6 cars were damaged. As a result of shelling of peaceful settlements in Tavush, 24 houses, a brandy factory and a winery, a kindergarten, a cemetery, 4 cars, a water main, a gas pipeline and a greenhouse were damaged, as well as a police checkpoint, in which 2 police officers were injured. In addition, one civilian was also wounded. Azerbaijan officially confirmed the death of 11 servicemen, the Armenian side reported the death of at least 10 more Azerbaijani special service officers.
About Karabakh conflict
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. -0—