Monday, 11 April 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Cease-Fire Disputed

Voice of America
April 6 2016
Cease-Fire Holds in Disputed Nagorno-Karabakh Region

Azerbaijani and ethnic Armenian forces said Wednesday that they were
observing a cease-fire following four days of fighting in the
Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said its forces were strictly observing
the cease-fire around the disputed territory. The ministry accused
Armenian forces of breaking the truce several times Wednesday by
firing mortars at Azerbaijani positions, adding that Azerbaijani
forces had not returned fire.

A Nagorno-Karabakh military spokesman insisted the region's forces had
strictly respected the cease-fire.

Officials of both governments declared the cease-fire Tuesday in
Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin had separate phone calls
Tuesday with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia, urging them to
honor the cease-fire.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Baku with Azerbaijani
President Ilham Aliyev on Wednesday, offering to help ensure that the
truce will last and to contribute to a political settlement. Lavrov is
set to meet with his Azerbaijani and Iranian counterparts in Baku on
Thursday, while Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will visit the
Armenian capital of Yerevan on the same day.

Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but is dominated by ethnic
Armenians; it has been under control of local ethnic Armenian forces
and the Armenian military for years.

Conflict over the region broke out in 1988, when it claimed
independence from Azerbaijan and said it would join Armenia. Clashes
led to a cease-fire in 1994. There have been occasional skirmishes
since then, and the recent fighting, in which 63 people were killed,
was among the most heated.

Some information for this report came from AP. 

Helpful Background Note from

Rouben Galichian, London 

The past few days have been full of the news from the war in Nagorno 
Karabagh, with the news media stating that the fighting is over the 
Nagorno Karabagh, part of the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. 

fully realise that only a few of your readers may be familiar with the 
recent history of the region and would like to bring to your attention 
the following. 

Over two millennia Nagorno Karabagh has been populated by a majority of 
Armenians, who, for the past few hundred years, have lived there under 
rule of the Persians and Ottomans. In 1918 two Caucasian Independent 
Republics of Georgia and Armenia were re-established, with the addition 
of a new country by the name of Azerbaijan, born on the northern shores 
of the Arax River. Until that time, the name “Azerbaijan” belonged 
to the north-western Iranian province and north of the river there were 
only a numbers of Muslim Khanates who ruled over the population and 
controlled the territory under either Ottoman or Persian Suzerainty. 
Within two years the communists took over all the three countries and 
later they became to be known as the Soviet Republics of Georgia, 
Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

After initial skirmishes and negotiations, in December 1920 the 
Government of Soviet Azerbaijan informed Armenia that they agree that 
the territories of Nagorno Karabagh and Nakhijevan should be part of 
Soviet Armenia. However, in July 1921 Stalin visited the region and 
reversed the decision made by the government of Azerbaijan, deciding 
that these two territories had to be part of Azerbaijan, 
notwithstanding their ethnic balance. 

For details see my books “The Invention of History” and 
“Clash of Histories in the South Caucasus” available 
free in [1] 

Thus the decision of one of the worlds cruellest dictators has become 
the basis of all negotiations and the “rule of the law” in the world 
today . No one asks the reason for this, to say the least, illogical 

The Guardian
Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict: patriotism prevails on both sides 
As the ceasefire looks shaky, emotions run high on both sides 
of the bitter Nagorno-Karabakh conflict 
Marianna Grigoryan in Yerevan and Durna Safarova in Baku 
7 April 2016

In both the Armenian and Azerbaijani capitals, crowds have been 
gathering to voice support for their respective militaries after four 
days of intense fighting in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region. 

Amid an upsurge of patriotic feeling in Yerevan and Baku, Azerbaijan 
claimed on Wednesday that the terms of the ceasefire agreed to 
just 24 hours earlier had already been broken 115 times . 

The view from Armenia 
In Yerevan, members of a solidarity march said they knew of friends 
and family who had continued to board buses to the front line after 
Tuesday’s agreement. “My two cousins are back from France to go 
to frontline, it’s incredible,” said Narine Galstian. 

“Armenians are the only nation in the world that emigrate during 
peaceful times, but hurry back home when war erupts,” she said. 

In Yerevan’s city centre, well-known activist Helena Melkonian was 
joined by hundreds of people on Tuesday to assemble aid packages 
to be sent to Armenian soldiers. She said “recent events have 
united everyone” despite widespread distrust of the current 
government. “There is something warm in the air, some kindness 
that is unexpected.” 

The crowd was joined by Max Sargsyan, one of the initiators of the 
2015 anti-government Electric Yerevan protests , who said the 
outpouring of support was astonishing. “Prior to these events many 
people were skeptical that that people would come together, but 
everyone stood up at the critical moment. The mood is encouraging,” 
Sargsyan said. 

Online posts alleging to show images of beheaded Armenian soldiers 
and the abandoned bodies of a group of elderly residents have further 
inflamed tensions, sewing doubt the the ceasefire will hold. 

Thomas de Waal, senior associate at Carnegie Europe told the 
Guardian on Tuesday that the ongoing low-intensity fighting “completely 
destroys the peace process” and made it likely the conflict could once 
again escalate. 

Though Karabakh is technically part of Azerbaijan it has been run 
by an ethnic Armenian government since the collapse of the Soviet 
Union. By the time a ceasefire was agreed in 1994 around 25,000 
people were believed to have been killed and hundreds of thousands 
displaced from their homes. 

Speaking from Yerevan, Edgar Nersisyan, who joined the crowd 
packing aid said: “Many Azerbaijanis describe Karabakh as ‘their 
territory’. For us it is not just a territory, it is our motherland. We 
will stand for Karabakh till the end.” 

The view from Azerbaijan 
In the Azeri capital, similar scenes were taking place as citizens 
gathered to show their support from the other side of the disputed 
border conflict. 

Freelance reporter and blogger Islam Shikhali organised a solidarity 
event on Wednesday for the many ordinary people who “want to 
show their moral and material support” for those caught up in the 

“I was shocked when I saw hundreds of people gathering in the 
city centre and bringing different things that might be useful for daily 
use. We have been overloaded. We were 2-3 people at the beginning, 
then it appeared hundreds of young people helping each other to 
carry the stuff,” Shikhali said. 

He said queues of people had assembled outside hospitals across 
the country to donate blood. “It is real solidarity, maybe this kind of 
solidarity can only be compared with 1990s, when the first Karabakh 
war started.” 

Analysis Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict is a reminder of Europe's instability 

Sudden eruption of violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh region has 
come as a nasty shock and must be addressed 

The most recent clashes have involved tanks, helicopters and artillery 
concentrating fire along the contact line, a heavily mined no man’s land 
that has since the 1990s has separated Armenian-backed forces, in 
the foothills of the Karabakh mountains, from Azeri troops dug into 
defensive positions in the plains below. 

“Karabakh is the value that connects all Azeris. Everyone with 
different backgrounds, from different political groups and point of view 
come together and be the one nation when it comes to Karabakh,” 
said Shikhali. 

In 2014, both sides managed to pull back from the brink after frontline 
clashes led to the deaths of an estimated 20 soldiers on both sides. 
But the conditions that encouraged restraint two years ago may have 
changed, according to Elkhan Mehdiyev, the director of Baku’s Peace 
and Conflict Resolution Centre. 

“Peace for Azerbaijan means the liberation of its territory, restoration 
of its sovereignty and peaceful coexistence [with Armenia],” Mehdiyev 
said. “A ceasefire is not peace.” 

The California Courier
Armenians Should Do Everything Possible 
To Ensure This is the Last Azeri Attack 
By Harut Sassounian  

The world woke up last Saturday morning to the drumbeats of war 
from a large-scale assault by Azerbaijan on tiny Artsakh (Karabagh). 

This was not a surprise attack! For many years, Azerbaijan’s 
President Ilham Aliyev has had the nasty habit of launching military 
attacks on the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh whenever 
international peace talks or Summit Meetings were being held. 

Even a casual observer of this long-running conflict could have guessed 
that Azerbaijan would launch yet another attack during last weekend’s 
Nuclear Security Summit hosted by Pres. Obama and attended by 
50 heads of state, including Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and 
Turkey. Some observers were surprised by the large scale of the Azeri 
attack which involved tanks, helicopters, missiles, and drones. In fact, 
the scope of the assault should not have come as a surprise, given 
Azerbaijan’s technological escalation of aggression in recent years. 
Aliyev’s sinister practice of timing military attacks with peace talks or 
international conferences reflects his intensive efforts to keep the 
Artsakh conflict as a burning issue at all cost. 

Certainly, Pres. Aliyev is increasingly frustrated by his inability to 
intimidate Armenians into giving up the territory of Artsakh despite 
Azerbaijan’s purchase of multi-billion dollars of modern weaponry. 
Aliyev is also distressed by his failure to use his country’s vast oil 
and gas resources as an inducement to pressure world leaders 
into supporting Azerbaijan in the Artsakh conflict. As a result, the 
Baku dictator has wasted huge amounts of his country’s wealth to 
bribe foreign officials and purchase expensive but ineffective 

Furthermore, as Azerbaijan’s father and son Presidential Dynasty, 
the Aliyevs have persistently threatened to attack and “liberate the 
occupied territories of Karabagh” for over 20 years. Since they 
have cried wolf for far too long, very few Azeris take their president’s 
bravado talk too seriously. Consequently, Aliyev has been desperate 
to take any and all measures, no matter how reckless, to save face 
at home and abroad! 

It is important to understand the timing and motive of Aliyev’s 
aggressive behavior so that other countries are not blamed for
 instigating these attacks which would only serve to shift attention 
from the only guilty party -- Azerbaijan! However, there are other 
countries that have a share of the blame: First among these is 
Erdogan’s Turkey for its direct participation and support of Azerbaijan’s 
military misadventures. The Minsk Group of mediators (France, 
Russia, and United States) are also guilty for remaining silent 
during previous Azeri aggressions and blaming both sides each 
time Azerbaijan attacked Armenia or Artsakh. The international 
community’s shameful silence and doubletalk routinely equated 
the victimizer with the victim, thereby emboldening the 

One particularly horrifying episode during this latest attack validated 
the concern of all those who have been warning for years about the 
risk of genocide threatening Artsakh’s Armenians. Over the weekend, 
when Azeri soldiers temporarily took over the Talish village, just 
inside Artsakh’s border, they not only executed an elderly Armenian 
couple, but barbarically cut off their ears as souvenirs! Such savagery, 
at a minimum, is a war crime under international law! Just imagine 
what these brutal Azeri soldiers would have done if they had overrun 
the entire population of Artsakh. It would have been a bloodbath 
of immense proportion -- a second Armenian Genocide! 

Three firm conclusions should be drawn from the latest massive 
Azeri aggression: 

1) Artsakh Armenians can never go back to live under the despotic 
rule of Azerbaijan, no matter how many times Aliyev threatens or 
2) Armenians should not just repel the Azeri forces, but inflict such 
massive destruction that Aliyev would never again think of another 
attack. Already, thousands of volunteers from all over Armenia 
have rushed to Artsakh’s defense. Azerbaijan is aware that its 
multi-billion dollar oil fields and pipelines are in easy reach of 
Armenia’s long-range missiles! 
3) It is time to declare Artsakh an inseparable part of the Republic 
of Armenia. On April 4, Pres. Sargsyan told foreign ambassadors 
in Yerevan that if the hostilities continued and escalated, Armenia 
would “recognize Karabagh’s independence.” 

The brave people of Artsakh desperately need everyone’s moral, 
political and material support! one 

Statement of Ambassador Kirakossian at the Special Meeting 
of the OSCE Permanent Council on the escalation of situation 
in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict-z

Mr. Chairman, 

First we would like to thank the OSCE Chairperson of the Permanent 
Council for convening the special session. We are also grateful to the 
OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the Personal Representative of the 
Chairperson in Office for appearing in the Permanent Council on the 
issue which requires urgent attention of the OSCE and its participating 

Before I will go directly to the current situation on the Line of Contact 
between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, I would like to thank for 
the words of sympathy addressed to the families of victims of the 
ongoing escalation in the region. 

We are convinced that this escalation is meaningless and the peoples 
of the region will not benefit from the large-scale military confrontation. 

The large scale military actions began at the night of April 1 to April 2. 
Azerbaijani armed forces unleashed large scale offensive along the 
line of contact. The use of force on which Azerbaijan was making 
constant threats took place. 

The defense installations of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army, 
civilian infrastructure, settlements came under heavy bombardment 
by artillery, tanks, armored vehicles, multiple rocket launchers, and 
air force, along the Line of Contact and deep inside the territory of 
Nagorno-Karabakh. The units of the Azerbaijani army intruded 
Nagorno-Karabakh in several directions. The use of deadly offensive 
weapons included 122 mm caliber multiple launch rocket system 
"Grad", heavy multiple rocket launcher “Smerch”, heavy flamethrower 
system TOS-1, 152 mm caliber howitzers and various-caliber mortars. 

The first and decisive strike on which Azerbaijani armed forces counted 
for successful commencement of their military action was effectively 
resisted by the NK Defence Army. Azerbaijan lost significant amount 
of tanks, armored vehicles, number of combat, attack and other types 
of drones, 2 attack helicopters, as well as hundreds of troops. These 
figures are constantly updating but it is certain that Azerbaijan already 
paid a heavy price for its military adventurism and misleading reports 
on putative military gains will not be able to mitigate it. 

The NK Defence army endured casualties as well. So far 20 servicemen
 were killed, 72 wounded. The fate of 26 persons is unknown. There 
are number of civilian casualties: youngest of which is 12 years old 
boy and eldest is 92 years old woman. 

We are not surprised that Azerbaijan tries to cover up its large scale 
military offensive by putting forward false allegations on ceasefire 
violations emanating from the NK side. 

After all, history does not know any aggressor who will not blame 
the other side for unleashing its military campaign. It is obvious that 
neither Armenia, nor Nagorno-Karabakh have any reason, necessity, 
purpose to escalate the situation. Whereas, there are multiple reasons 
for Azerbaijan to do that, to name only a few: to divert the international 
attention from the criticism of its dire human rights situation, to avoid 
public anger in Azerbaijan related to the huge inflation and 
socio-economic problems due to the drastic cut in oil prices, to derail 
the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process trying to gain some advantages 
through the blackmail– negotiate with guns. 

However, even in the Azerbaijani version there is an implicit recognition 
that the current military escalation is a result of their deliberate actions. 
Here, first of all I mean the references of Azerbaijani side which has 
been also circulated by the Azerbaijani delegation here in the OSCE 
on so called “liberation” of settlements and strategic positions. 
Azerbaijani side went even further by declaring that its forces are 
building new defense lines and consolidating their gains. 

The attempt to conquer the territory and military positions differentiate 
these ceasefire violations from the previous ones. Another important 
feature of this escalation that makes it unprecedented is systematic 
and deliberate targeting of the civilian objects and population with 
an apparent attempt to terrorize people of Nagorno-Karabakh. 
Otherwise, it is difficult to understand why Azerbaijani armed forces 
would bombard schools and kill and injure schoolchildren or why 
Azerbaijani special forces would torture, kill and mutilate three elderly 
persons in the NK borderline village Talish, one of them 92 years 
old woman. The appalling photos of these heinous crimes appeared 
in the media. These atrocities recalled the memories of massacres 
committed at the wake of the conflict, when hundreds of Armenians 
were killed and mutilated in Sumgait, Baku, Kirovabad and elsewhere 
in Azerbaijan. Not much has been changed in Azerbaijan since then, 
except that Azerbaijani armed forces learnt ISIL style executions and 
taking pictures with chopped heads, which was put forward online to 
boost military spirit. 

The deliberate shelling of border line settlements particularly 
Martakert town of Nagorno-Karabakh by heavy artillery and multiple 
rocket systems is not even hidden by Azerbaijani side who made a 
threat to bombard even the NK capital city Stepanakert. 

These actions cannot be justified by military necessity and some of 
them constitute war crimes. It is clear what will happen to the 
inhabitants of NK if Azerbaijani troops would be able to capture them. 
Therefore, the necessity of the implementation of the right to 
self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh cannot be put 
under doubt since the very existence of people is at stake. Under 
these circumstances the Republic of Armenia as a party to the 
trilateral ceasefire agreement of 1994 will take necessary actions. 
People of Nagorno-Karabakh have the right to self-defence and 
Armenia as a guarantor of their physical security will stand by them. 
The President of Armenia instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
of Armenia to prepare the draft treaty on the mutual military assistance 
to be signed by the Republic of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh 

Armenia appreciates the unequivocal condemnation of ceasefire 
violations pronounced by various representatives of international 
community. However, non-specified and generic condemnation will 
not be sufficient to restrain the party who unleashed this large scale 
military offensive. Therefore it is essential to identify and hold 
accountable Azerbaijan who undermines the ceasefire and thus 
regional peace and security. 

My delegation constantly raised the issue of ceasefire violations 
by Azerbaijan at the level of the Permanent Council since 2014. 
On numerous occasions Armenia agreed with the proposals of 
the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs to establish investigative 
mechanism into possible ceasefire violations while Azerbaijan 
rejected all proposals of international mediators on confidence 
building measures aimed at the consolidation of ceasefire. 
Armenia called on strengthening the capacities of the Office 
of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office 
whose field officers monitor ceasefire regime, while Azerbaijan 
attempted to limit their permanent presence in the conflict zone. 
The reason why is more than evident today . Hence all efforts of 
Azerbaijan were aimed at limiting the international presence and 
preparing conducive conditions for its new military aggression 
against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. 

In line with its policy of preparation to major hostilities, Azerbaijan 
dismissed all proposals for political settlement of the 
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict put forward by the international mediators
-the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and their respective countries. 
At the highest level Azerbaijan mocked the peace process and its 
agreed format and finally earlier this year Azerbaijan refused to 
meet with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. 

Along this policy of undermining the peace process and disregarding 
the calls of various representatives of international community to 
uphold its commitment to peaceful resolution of the conflict, 
Azerbaijan tried to get support of Turkey known for its hostile attitude 
towards Armenians. The provocative rhetoric of Turkish high level 
authorities before and after the recent escalation along with consistent 
support provided to the Azerbaijan armed forces are nothing less than 
open encouragement to commit new crimes against the Armenian 
people. Armenia has constantly raised the threats that kinship solidarity 
approaches pose to the indivisible and universal security in the OSCE 
area and this recent events more than validated our concerns. 

Yesterday the President of Armenia in an address delivered at the 
meeting with the Ambassadors of the OSCE participating states 
accredited to Yerevan clearly communicated the position of Armenia 
on overcoming the current escalation. 

First, the adherence to the 1994 trilateral ceasefire agreement signed 
between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh should be 
enforced, the military actions should be halted and the troops should 
return to the positions and installations which they held on April 1. 

Second, investigation mechanism into the ceasefire violations should 
be urgently established. The capacities and activities of the PRCiO 
should be significantly strengthened and extended to include additional 
field officers to monitor the ceasefire. 

The Nagorno-Karabakh authorities are signatory of 1994 ceasefire 
agreement and the direct contacts should be re-established with them 
by all parties to the conflict. 

No any arrangement will be supported by the Armenian side, which 
will try to create conditions for continued and incremental ceasefire 
violations, something that Azerbaijan tried to achieve by proclaiming a 
deceptive unilateral ceasefire. We and international community cannot 
count on good will of the country which has unleashed this attack. Our 
point of reference cannot be a good faith of Azerbaijan which had 
never existed, but international obligations of 1994 ceasefire verified 
and supervised by the relevant OSCE actors. 

Thank You.

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