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Opposition Leader Demands Inquiry Into Karabakh Attack


Armenia -- Opposition leader Aleksandr Arzumanian speaks at a news conference, 24June 2010.

Armenia -- Opposition leader Aleksandr Arzumanian speaks at a news conference, 24June 2010.

A leading member of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) demanded on Thursday an official inquiry into the June 18-19 gun battle in Nagorno-Karabakh that left at least four Armenian soldiers dead.


Aleksandr Arzumanian said military authorities in Armenia and Karabakh should clarify reasons for what he called a successful Azerbaijani commando raid on a Karabakh Armenian outpost in the northern Martakert district.

“We must pay serious attention to the army discipline,” Arzumanian told a news conference. “There have been many alarming reports about the situation reigning in the army.”

“As citizens of Armenia, we care about the state of our army because our children serve in that army and they become victims of somebody’s negligent or unprofessional actions,” he said. “The army command in Karabakh and Armenia should not have allowed such a situation in the first place.”

A similar call was issued on Monday by Arman Melikian, a Yerevan-based former Karabakh foreign minister. “To what extent were our forces prepared to face such an attack?” he asked, speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service.

The Karabakh Armenian military has announced no such inquiry yet. It has only warned Azerbaijan against provoking large-scale hostilities in the conflict zone.

Like the Armenian government, Arzumanian claimed that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev personally ordered the attack the day after holding talks with President Serzh Sarkisian in Saint Petersburg, Russia. But the HAK leader, who had served as Armenia’s foreign minister from 1996-1998, also blamed the Armenian diplomacy for what he saw as inadequate international reaction to the armed incident.

“In this case, the party that violated the ceasefire regime is evident,” said Arzumanian. “Such mild or neutral statements [by the international mediators and other bodies] saying nothing are a bit weird.”
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