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Yerevan Insists On Armenian-Azeri Confidence-Building Measures


Armenia -- Priest Ter Abel prays for peace outside the village of Movses on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, July 15, 2020

Armenia called on Azerbaijan on Tuesday to agree to confidence-building measures that could prevent further ceasefire violations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.

“We hope that after the failure of its latest military adventure Azerbaijan will demonstrate responsibility on the issue of maintaining and strengthening the ceasefire,” Anna Naghdalian, the Armenian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said, referring to last week’sclashes on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border which left at least 16 soldiers from both sides dead.

“There are explicit proposals to strengthen security and confidence, including an increase in the number of international monitors deployed on the ground, direct communication [between the two sides] and introduction of a mechanism for investigating ceasefire violations,” Naghdalian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “Their implementation could help to avoid a renewed upsurge in tensions.”

Azerbaijani President Aliyev and his former Armenian counterpart President Serzh Sarkisian agreed on such safeguards against ceasefire violations during face-to-face meetings held after the April 2016 hostilities in Karabakh. Baku subsequently refused to implement them, however, saying that they would cement the status quo in the conflict.

Sarkisian’s political allies have always portrayed those confidence-building agreements, strongly backed by the U.S., Russian and French mediators, as a major Armenian diplomatic achievement. They claim that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian abandoned them after coming to power in May 2018 and embarking on a dialogue with Aliyev a few months later.

Pashinian called for an “international system of credible monitoring of the ceasefire regime” when he met with Armenia’s Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan and top army generals over the weekend.

Pashinian’s office would not say on Tuesday whether he is now trying to revive the agreements that were negotiated by Sarkisian.

“I think that commenting on the former authorities’ statements is an ungrateful task,” Ruben Rubinian, the pro-government chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on foreign relations, said in this regard.

“We have always raised the issue of introducing a monitoring mechanism and will continue doing so,” he added.

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