Russia attempts mediation between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh

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Vladimir Putin invited to Moscow this Friday the heads of the Armenian and Azerbaijani diplomats, Zohrab Mnatsakanian and Ceyhun Bayramov, who accepted, after meeting Thursday evening with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. He intends to plead a truce in the fighting. This is the first time since the start of military operations on September 27in the separatist enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, that leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet. The day before, while the fighting was not weakening in Nagorno-Karabakh, in Azerbaijan, the first meeting of international mediation, in Geneva, under the co-presidency of Paris, Moscow and Washington, had not given anything: Yerevan had not dispatched to representative, considering it impossible to discuss as long as Baku continued its offensive. The leaders of the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), populated by Armenians and supported by Yerevan, accused Azerbaijan of targeting their historic Ghazanchetsots cathedral. The bombardments on their capital, Stepanakert, however stopped during the night from Thursday to Friday.

A conflict born from the rubble of the USSR

Baku, for its part, accused the separatists and the Armenian army of having bombed civilian areas in Azerbaijan. According to the separatist authorities, half of the 140,000 inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh have been displaced by military operations . No significant breakthrough has been independently reported since Tuesday, despite the effectiveness of the drone raids provided by Turkey and Israel against Armenian tanks.

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Baku, unconditionally supported by Ankara, says it will not cease its military operations until Armenian forces leave Nagorno-Karabakh.

Paris castigates Turkey

Although held to neutrality as co-chairman of the Minsk group, Paris noted Wednesday, through the voice of its foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, ” a military involvement of Turkey which risks fueling internationalization. of the conflict ”and considered that“ it was Azerbaijan that initiated the conflict ”. An important position, said the Ambassador of Armenia to France, Hasmik Tolmajian, on Thursday, because ” unprecedented on the part of a permanent member of the UN Security Council”. Emmanuel Macron, the French president, has already criticized the actions of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean against Greece. The latter, which does not hide its diplomatic support for Catholic Armenia against the duo Turkey (Sunni Muslim) and Azerbaijan (Shiite) recalled Thursday for consultation its ambassador in Baku, who did the same with his representative in Athens.

Kremlin ambiguity

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On the other hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed on Tuesday that Nagorno-Karabakh was ” not Armenian territory  “, which some interpreted as a green light for Baku and Ankara to conduct their military operations there without risking harm. trigger the military assistance mechanism between Russia and Armenia provided for by the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization). But Hasmik Tolmajian rather sees in the statements of the Russian president ” the commitment of Russia to respect the terms of the treaty if the territory of Armenia were attacked.”, Without specifying the level from which an incident would be considered an attack. Asked about the difficulty, under international law, of Armenia’s commitment to a self-proclaimed Republic recognized by no one, not even by Yerevan, she stressed that “ this non-recognition was originally aimed at to preserve the negotiation process under the aegis of the Co-presidency, made up of France, Russia and the United States, of the Minsk group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Now, a red line has been crossed by Baku ”.

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