Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Azerbaijan in Karabakh

RFE/RL Report
Azerbaijan Admits Offensive In Karabakh
Emil Danielyan, Sargis Harutyunyan ## Karine Simonian

The Azerbaijani military on Saturday acknowledged that it went on
offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh and said 12 of its soldiers died and an
Azerbaijani attack helicopter was shot down by the Armenians as a

In a statement cited by Azerbaijani news agencies, the Defense
Ministry in Baku said its frontline troops launched the morning
offensive in response to Armenian shelling of Azerbaijani positions
and villages close to "the line of contact" around Karabakh.

The armed forces of Armenia and Karabakh insisted earlier in the day
that the Azerbaijani attacks were unprovoked and ended in failure. The
Karabakh Defense Army claimed to have destroyed three tanks shot down
two Azerbaijani helicopter gunships in the heavy fighting.

President Serzh Sarkisian reported on Saturday evening that 18
Armenian soldiers were killed and 35 others wounded in what was the
heaviest fighting in the conflict zone since 1994.

The Karabakh Armenian military claimed to have killed more than 100
Azerbaijani soldiers, among them dozens of members of a commando unit
which it said was liquidated in northeastern Karabakh. It released
photographs of the bodies of three Azerbaijani soldiers apparently
lying in Armenian-controlled territory.

On Saturday morning, an 11-year-old Karabakh Armenian boy was killed
and two other children wounded when Azerbaijani rockets hit their
village in Karabakh's southeastern Martuni district. The wounded boys
were rushed to a hospital in Stepanakert and underwent surgery
there. Doctors said their life is no longer at risk.

"They were on their way to school [when they rocket fire began,]" the
mother of the 11-year-old Vartan Andreasian, one of the wounded
schoolboys , told RFE/RL's Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

News reports from Baku, said one resident of an Azerbaijani village
just northeast of Karabakh was killed and another wounded by Armenian
artillery fire.

"Within a very short period of time, we managed to break through enemy
lines at some sections of the frontline which Armenian forces have
fortified for many years," said the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry
statement cited by the pro-government website Haqqin.az. It claimed
that the Azerbaijani army occupied one Karabakh village and hilltops
overlooking another.

A senior Karabakh official, Artur Aghabekian, flatly denied that
claim. "That is definitely disinformation," Aghabekian told RFE/RL's
Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

"Forced to admit its losses, the enemy is simply trying to justify
them in the eyes of the Azerbaijani public," said the spokesman for
Armenia's Defense Ministry, Artsrun Hovannisian.

Hundreds of Karabakh Armenians, many of them veterans of the 1991-1994
war with Azerbaijan, reportedly gathered in Stepanakert to offer to
join the troops fighting Azerbaijani forces. The Karabakh Defense Army
was in no rush to mobilize them, however, saying that its units are
successfully defending their positions.

Hovannisian said that Yerevan is also not planning a general

RFE/RL Report

 `Large-Scale' Fighting Reported In Karabakh

Fierce fighting broke out around Nagorno-Karabakh early on Saturday
after what the Armenian military described as "large-scale offensive
operations" launched by the Azerbaijani army.

Karabakh's Armenian-backed Defense Army said Azerbaijani forces backed
by tanks, heavy artillery and helicopter gunships attacked its
positions along the "line of contact" around the territory and shelled
Karabakh villages and towns.

"Fierce clashes are taking place along the entire Line of Contact,"
the army said in a statement, adding that its troops repelled the
enemy at all sections of the frontline and caused it "considerable"
losses. It said the shelling killed an 11-year-old Karabakh Armenian
boy and wounded two other children.

Armenia's Defense Ministry likewise spoke of the most serious
escalation of fighting in the Karabakh conflict zone since the 1994
truce that stopped a full-scale Armenian-Azerbaijani war. "The enemy
has been repelled along the entire Line of Contact, suffering numerous
casualties as a result," it said in a statement.

The ministry calls called on the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of
the OSCE Minsk Group to urgently intervene and "maintain the situation
under control."

The ministry spokesman, Artsrun Hovannisian, said separately that the
Armenian army "has gone on counteroffensive in some places." "We have
the initiative in the hostilities," he wrote on Facebook. He gave no
further details.

Azerbaijan essentially confirmed the escalation later in the morning
but blamed the Armenian side for it. It said that Azerbaijani
frontline troops and villages came under "intensive fire" overnight
and that the Azerbaijani army had to take "urgent measures" in
response. The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said its troops are taking
"coordinated retaliatory actions" against the Armenians but did not

RFE/RL Report
Armenia Plans New Defense Pact With Karabakh
Karlen Aslanian ## Tatevik Lazarian

Armenia will bolster Nagorno-Karabakh's security through a defense
treaty that will be signed with the Armenian-populated territory,
President Serzh Sarkisian said on Saturday, responding what he called
unprecedented Azerbaijani truce violations.

Sarkisian held an emergency meeting of his National Security Council
just hours after the outbreak of worst fighting in and around Karabakh
in over two decades.

In opening remarks at the meeting publicized by his office, Sarkisian
praised the Armenian military's response to an Azerbaijani offensive
that left at least 31 soldiers and civilians on both sides dead.

"Thanks to its timely and professional actions, the Nagorno-Karabakh
Defense Army not only kept the situation under control but also
inflicted considerable losses on the enemy," he said. He cautioned,
though, that hostilities are continuing along "the line of contact"
around Karabakh, saying that "it is still not clear what they will
lead to."

"Armenia's Armed Forces are acting in accordance with a previously
drawn up plan, and I think that some ministries should switch to a
special, enhanced regime without fuss or tension," the Armenian leader
went on. "Measures have been taken to ensure the safety of the
population of border regions. I think those measures are sufficient."

Nevertheless, Sarkisian said, Yerevan should now take "one step
forward" and negotiate with Karabakh's ethnic Armenian leadership a
"treaty on mutual military assistance." "The Republic of Armenia will
fully fulfill its obligation to ensure the security of
Nagorno-Karbaakh's population, and we already have a legal right to do
so because we were a party to the ceasefire agreement signed in 1994,"
he said.

The president stopped short of pledging to formally recognize Karabakh
as an independent republic. A deputy chairman of his ruling Republican
Party of Armenia (HHK), Armen Ashotian, made clear that such a move is
still "premature."

Ashotian sought to stress the significance of the document announced
Sarkisian, saying that it will formally commit Armenia and Karabakh to
creating a "single military area." "The treaty will allow Armenia to
more actively intervene in the defense ofNagorno-Karabakh's people
assist the Karabakh army," he told RFE/RL's Armenian service

In a rare display of unity, Armenia's main opposition parties shared
official Yerevan's assessment of the latest escalation in Karabakh and
its military actions taken in response.

One of them, the Armenian National Congress (HAK), said that the
country's main political and civic groups will unite "in the face of
any kind of foreign aggression." "The relevant circles in Azerbaijan
can rest assured that no internal political problem will mean a
division or split among the Armenian people and base its aggressive
calculations on that," the HAK said in a statement.

The Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the second largest in parliament,
said it stands ready to "invest its full potential in the
inviolability of the borders of the two Armenian states." 

Kavkazskiy Uzel website, Russia
April 2 2016
Karabakh sending volunteers to contact line with Azerbaijani forces
Several buses carrying volunteers are heading from Stepanakert
(Xankandi), the capital of Azerbaijan's breakaway Nagornyy Karabakh,
to the line of contact between Karabakh and Azerbaijani forces, where
battles have been under way today, the Russian Kavkazskiy Uzel website
reported on 2 April.

The local TV station broadcast calls for men able to hold arms and
having combat experience to go to the line of contact.

Kavkazskiy Uzel website was told at the Karabakh defence ministry that
battles were continuing in the south-east of Karabakh by 1700 Moscow
time (1400 gmt).

Anadolu Agency, Turkey
April 3 2016
Britain urges 'restraint' over Karabakh
UK's Europe minister calls on Armenia and Azerbaijan to respect 
Minsk Group process
Britain has urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to show restraint after this
week’s outbreak of fighting in occupied Karabakh.

Europe minister David Lidington said he was appalled by the upsurge in
fighting and called on both countries to “engage constructively and
intensively” to find a negotiated settlement.

Azerbaijan reclaimed land occupied by Armenia during clashes in the
region on Friday and Saturday, leading to the deaths of 12 Azerbaijani

Lidington said in a statement on Sunday: “I am appalled and highly
concerned by the upsurge in fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
zone and by the resulting loss of life.

“It is essential that the sides act urgently to halt the fighting and
exercise restraint subsequently.

“I call upon both Armenia and Azerbaijan to engage constructively and
intensively in the search for a negotiated peaceful settlement through the Minsk Group 

Trend, Azerbaijan
British MP: UN must ensure that Armenian forces withdraw from
Azerbaijani territory
3 April 2016

British MP, member of the UK-Azerbaijan interparliamentary friendship
group Bob Blackman made a statement in connection with the violation
by Armenia of the ceasefire on the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh,
The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) told Trend.

He said that tension has been simmering on the contact line for many
months. "Now it seems that full-scale fighting has broken out. The
United Nations must step in and ensure that the Armenian forces
withdraw from Azerbaijani territory as instructed by their own
Security Council resolutions number 822, 853, 874 and 884", Blackman

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988
when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result
of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent
of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven
surrounding districts.

The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs
of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently
holding peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four
resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the
Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

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