Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has arrived in Nagorno-Karabakh where he is to chair a meeting of Armenia’s Security Council planned for tomorrow, his press service said on Monday.
According to the Armenian Government’s Information and Public Relations Department, Bako Sahakian, the leader of Karabakh, will also be present at the meeting.
Officials have not yet published details relating to the agenda of the Security Council’s meeting, promising to do so later.
It is also unclear why Prime Minister Pashinian has decided to hold the meeting of Armenia’s Security Council in Nagorno-Karabakh.
David Babayan, a spokesman for the Nagorno-Karabakh president, promised to provide details after the meeting is held.
“Don’t think that something extraordinary happened and that’s why he [Pashinian] came. This is a planned working visit not focused on anything extraordinary,” Babayan told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
Pashinian is visiting Stepanakert two days after international mediators seeking to broker a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict issued a statement ahead of planned Armenian-Azerbaijani summit talks.
The United States, Russian and French co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group welcomed “some initial steps being taken in the region to prepare the populations for peace and encourage the sides to intensify such efforts.” At the same time, they reiterated “the critical importance of reducing tensions and minimizing inflammatory rhetoric.”
“In this context, the Co-Chairs urge the sides to refrain from statements and actions suggesting significant changes to the situation on the ground, prejudging the outcome of or setting conditions for future talks, demanding unilateral changes to the format without agreement of the other party, or indicating readiness to renew active hostilities,” the mediating troika said.
The statement came days after Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev traded accusations in their public statements in the context of their vision of the settlement of the protracted conflict.
Also, OSCE Chairman-in-Office Miroslav Laichak is expected to arrive in Armenia on a two-day visit on March 12. Laichak already traveled to Baku last week, stating in the Azerbaijani capital that he considered the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to be one of the priorities of his chairmanship.
Incidentally, on Monday the Azerbaijani army launched large-scale military exercises that will continue for five days and will involve up to 10,000 troops, 500 tanks, 300 missile systems, aircraft and other heavy materiel.
According to an official statement, the troops will carry out an offensive plan, trying to defeat the conventional enemy in a number of directions. It is reported that new weapons acquired by Azerbaijan in recent years will also be used during the current military exercises.
Armenia’s Foreign Ministry said the drills “do not contribute to the creation of an environment conducive to peace.”